For archives, these articles are being stored on Kewe.info website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.

 
A brief Hate statement...
Friday, March 14, 2008
I really hate America, Americans, their culture, their ways,
their accent, their politics, their arrogance, their stupidity,
their ignorance...
I really can't stand Americans. I can't stand their men, their
women, their country, everything they represent...
US  and  War    Mental Health disorders effecting returning troops.

Painting: Iraqi artist, Sina Ata: 2007 'Farewell to Baghdad'
Artist,
Sina Ata
2007
Farewell to Baghdad
I truly, deeply, sincerly hate them.
I will elevate this hatred to an Art form.
What colors do you think I should use?
I love colors and I find them to be a colorless people...
So what colors should I use?
Gray, Black or Red ?
Or maybe just White ?
I have this idea of taking an old sheet, a dirty sheet... burn the edges, stab it with knifes and make holes in it, over a million holes, then throw in some bright red, like rain drops...
At other times, I fantasize about using the Abu Ghraib excrements and smudging the sheet with it, then collectively wipe your faces with it.
Wipe your faces with the shit of the detainees you tortured.
Sometimes, my fantasy takes on a perverted twist, you must be a contagious lot with your perversity.
So I imagine a dirty sheet, covered with semen from forced masturbation, and have a few penises dangle on the corners, the penises you castrated, have them dangle there...
And then give it a few brushes and strokes of hemorrhaging blood from the wombs of the women you raped.
This will be your new American flag.
Then you can all gather under that flag and we will take pictures of you.
Don't forget to say cheese, will you?
You know something, all the Americans I come across, the ones who are polluting the Middle East like some bacterial disease, they all know how much we hate you deep down...
They invariably start their sentences with "I'm an American, I hope you don't hate me"...
And we give you the same stuff over and over...
No of course not, we have nothing against the American people...
It's your government.
A lie...
'Paramedic Sattar Taha killed by American bombing Aug. 8, 2007'
Friday, 9 November 2007
Living as a veteran of the streets
US  and  War    Mental Health disorders effecting returning troops. 

A homeless man in Washington DC.

One in four homeless people in the US is a military veteran.

A disproportionate number of the homeless are military veterans
A disproportionate number of the homeless are military veterans
One in four homeless people in the US is a military veteran, a report has found, even though veterans make up only 11% of the adult population.  One former soldier told his story to the BBC's Vincent Dowd in Washington.
Only a year ago, Ben Israel could have been forgiven for thinking nothing would ever go right with his life again.
He had been mainly homeless since his early 30s, living either on the streets of the richest nation in the world or in a selection of public shelters. Sometimes he lived in his car.
Ben was born on an army base in the US state of North Carolina, where his father was a soldier.
When he was 18 months old he swallowed — or maybe was given — furniture polish.  He was in a coma for days.
He blames this for his occasionally hesitant speech and some of the problems he has had throughout life.  "It caused me issues," he says simply.
Yet today you only need to spend a few minutes with him to recognise a keen intelligence too.
Soup kitchens
In 1973, conscription ended in America — but that year Ben volunteered for the US Army artillery corps anyway.
What I would mainly do was move
Ben Israel
He was just 17 and says he feared winding up in prison otherwise, because there was so little money around.
He just missed Vietnam but saw service, less dramatically, in Panama.
He was only in the army for three years.
I ask if he has ever married.  "Not officially," he says.
After the US Army, mainly he travelled and worked and he studied a little.
From the late 1980s to November 2006 he was usually homeless — although there were brief periods here and there with a roof over his head.
He tries to recall the cities whose soup kitchens he got to know too well: "Dallas, Texas.  Miami, Florida.  Atlanta, Georgia — twice.  Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Portland, Oregon..."
He acknowledges there were others he may have forgotten.
"What I would mainly do was move."
Charity salvation
Ben, at 51, is honest enough to acknowledge that some problems of his thirties and forties were of his own making.
US  and  War    Mental Health disorders effecting returning troops. 

A man sleeps rough on the streets

One in four homeless people in the US is a military veteran

Ben Israel believes more focus is needed on housing veterans
Ben Israel believes more focus is needed on housing veterans
But he also believes his middle years showed how badly America's Department of Veterans Affairs — the VA — has sometimes focused its resources.
"They are a giant cash-cow but they are spending their money in the wrong areas.  If they put more emphasis on housing their charges that would solve most of their issues out on the street."
Ben's life has improved — more than he ever expected it might.  But ultimately salvation came from a charity, not the VA.
He was in line at one more soup kitchen when he was approached by someone from Pathways to Housing.
It is a New York-based charity which, for 17 years, has helped the homeless who have psychiatric problems.
Important for Ben was that, as Pathway's mission statement makes clear, they do not require treatment or sobriety as a pre-condition of getting someone into an apartment.
Their philosophy is that the path to recovery starts with getting off the street and under a roof.
Watching squirrels
Ben's apartment in Marshall Heights in Washington DC is not big but it is clean and well kept.
Ben intends to find a job again and get off Social Security Disability Insurance.  He dreams of being an electrician.  "But I want a career — not a job," he says.
We get in a cab and travel to Franklin Square, in downtown Washington.
It's where a lot of still homeless veterans hang out during the day — some of Ben Israel's age, some a little younger.  There is not much to do but watch the squirrels.
Ben passes on the phone number of the people who after almost two decades helped him escape his wasted life.
He is a middle-aged man who found a sort of salvation when all hope seemed gone.  He wants others to share in the same good fortune.
MMVII
We were contacted by job-applications.com/category/armed-forces to add a link to their site for possible veterans who may be looking for a job.
Kewe.info site has no knowledge of this site and we do not accept payment for anything on the site but we are including it as a possible help for veterans.
Please let us know — email address on front page — if you have any problems
http://www.job-applications.com/category/armed-forces/
Mind games, Part 1: The things they carry
Nancy Goldstein — Raw Story columnist
Published: Tuesday October 24, 2006
Mental health disorders among returning troops
The same administration that many claim sent US troops overseas without sufficient intelligence, planning, numbers, or armor is equally unprepared to deal with the war's psychic toll on service members, RAW STORY has learned.
A former commander-in-chief describes today's overextended, under-equipped military as nearing the "breaking point."
Combat medics
Vietnam 1970
In Afghanistan, insurgent attacks and bombings are surging this year, as the Taliban rapidly regains power and popularity.
In Iraq, where US troops are, by the administration's own admission, struggling unsuccessfully with an increasingly bloody insurgency, US and civilian casualties are rising by the day.
Last week the Associated Press reported that this month is on track to be the deadliest one of the war yet.
It is already the deadliest since November 2004, when 92 American Marines were killed and another 500 wounded over the course of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah.
Even before this latest surge in violence, the men and women returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Afghanistan's Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) were seeking treatment in droves.
One-third of nearly half-million vets from two conflicts seeking treatment from VA facilities
In August, the Veterans Administration (VA) released a report showing that almost one-third of the nearly half-million vets from these two conflicts are seeking treatment from VA facilities.   Of these, a full 35% received a diagnosis of a possible mental disorder — a tenfold increase in 18 months.   (View full VA PowerPoint presentation.)
Some of this increase in demand among returning service members can be traced to the military's demonstrable preference for keeping troops deployable rather than discovering and treating mental health issues.
A must-read piece from the Hartford Courant earlier this year indicates that the military, which is now in the midst of a recruiting crisis and with no end to the war in sight, is not looking hard enough for signs of mental illness in prospective and active service members.
Nor is it willing to acknowledge what it finds, especially if that means removing another warm body from an over-stretched unit, letting the public see the negative consequences of an already unpopular war, or paying for treatment or compensation.
The investigative reporters who researched "Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight" concluded, from studying military investigative records and interviewing troops' family members, that the military was sending troops into combat, or re-deploying them, despite knowing that they were suicidal or had other signs of mental illness.
1 in 300 seeing mental health professional
Despite a congressional mandate that all deploying troops must have a mental health assessment, the reporters found that "Fewer than 1 in 300 were seeing a mental health professional" after filling out a pre-deployment health assessment that includes one mental health question — and before going to war.
Once in the theater, and in violation of the military's stated policies, "some unstable troops are kept on the front lines while on potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, with little or no monitoring or counseling," and despite the fact that their superiors are aware of their mental condition.
In 2005, these practices contributed to the suicides of 22 soldiers in Iraq, or nearly one in five of all Army non-combat deaths — an all-time high.
In the war zone, commanders rather than medical professionals decide whether to retain troubled soldiers.
Ann Scheurman's son, Pfc. Jason Scheurman, was referred for a psychological evaluation and stripped of his gun after he wrote her a suicide note.   Shortly thereafter he was "accused of faking his mental problems and warned that he could be disciplined, according to what he told his family."   The Army gave Jason his gun back.
Three weeks later, he killed himself with it.
Jason's mother, Ann, "said her family has had a frustrating time getting the Army to acknowledge mistakes in the way her son was treated."   She wants to make sure that if "whatever protocol they have in place is used, and it doesn't work, [they] fix it," but "to date, we're just not getting anything at all."
Army Spec. Jeffrey Henthorn, a young father and third-generation soldier, "had been sent back to Iraq for a second tour even though his superiors knew he was unstable and had threatened suicide at least twice, according to Army investigative reports and interviews."
The M-16 he used to kill himself in Balad, Iraq, in February of 2005 was so powerful that "fragments of his skull pierced the barracks ceiling."
Henthorn's superiors also ignored multiple warnings that he was suicidal.   In one incident at the military base, prior to his second deployment, he slashed his arm; in another, 18 days before his suicide, he took his gun into a latrine and "charged it, in what his fellow soldiers feared was a suicide gesture."
Henthorn's superiors took away the gun, but according to a sworn statement, they returned it to Henthorn later the same day after a half-hour talking-to by his platoon sergeant.   Though the platoon's first lieutenant was notified, "there is no indication that Henthorn was referred for a mental health evaluation or counseling."
US  and  War    Mental Health disorders effecting returning troops. 

A citizenship identification card issued by the Iraqi government in 1993 shows Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi with a date of birth of August 19, 1991, as translated from the identity card in this handout photo from her relatives in Baghdad July 9, 2006.

U.S. soldiers controlled the scene of the killings for several hours on March 11, 2006 telling neighbors that Sunni Arab insurgents were responsible. US military reports stated the age of the alleged rape victim was 20, rather than 15.

Death certificates viewed Sunday at the Mahmudiyah hospital identified the victims as Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 34, killed by gunshots to her head; Qasim Hamza Raheem, 45, whose head was
A citizenship identification card issued by the Iraqi government in 1993 shows Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi with a date of birth of August 19, 1991, as translated from the identity card in this handout photo from her relatives in Baghdad July 9, 2006.
U.S. soldiers controlled the scene of the killings for several hours on March 11, 2006 telling neighbors that Sunni Arab insurgents were responsible.   US military reports stated the age of the alleged rape victim was 20, rather than 15.
Death certificates viewed Sunday at the Mahmudiyah hospital identified the victims as Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 34, killed by gunshots to her head; Qasim Hamza Raheem, 45, whose head was "smashed" by bullets.
Hadeel Qasim Hamza, 7, Abeer's sister, shot; and Abeer, shot in the head.   Abeer's body showed burns, the death certificate noted.   Neighbor, Omar Janabi was the first people to arrive at the house after the attack.
He said he found Abeer sprawled dead in a corner, her hair and a pillow next to her consumed by fire, and her dress pushed up to her neck.   'I was sure from the first glance that she had been raped,' he said.
He recounted a conversation he had with the girl's mother, Fakhriyah, on March 10, 2006.   Fakhriyah feared that the Americans might come for her daughter at night, at their home.   She asked her neighbor if Abeer might sleep at his house, with the women there.   Janabi said he agreed.
'I tried to reassure her, remove some of her fear,' Janabi said.   'I told her, the Americans would not do such a thing.'
Abeer did not live to take up the offer of shelter.   Instead, US troops came to the girl's house the next day, apparently separating Abeer from her mother, father and young sister.
Janabi and others knowledgeable about the incident said they believed that the charged US troops raped Abeer in another room.   Medical officials who handled the bodies also said the girl had been raped, but they did not elaborate.
Before leaving, US troops have been charged with fatally shooting the four family members — two of Abeer's brothers had been away at school — and attempted to set Abeer's body on fire.
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
In speaking with reporters, Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the top psychiatry expert for the Army's surgeon general, insisted that the Department of Defense (DOD) still prioritized the mental health of service members in the war's fourth year.   "But she also acknowledged that some practices, such as sending servicemembers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) back into combat, had been driven in part by troop shortage."
"The challenge for us is that the Army has a mission to fight.   And as you know, recruiting has been a challenge," she said.   "And so we have to weigh the needs of the Army, the needs of the mission, with the soldiers' personal needs."
Or, as Cathleen Wiblemo, deputy director for health care for the American Legion says, "The DOD is in the business of keeping people deployable."
Winding up on the street — addicted and traumatized
The other consequence for soldiers whose combat-related trauma goes undiagnosed and untreated during their term of service was first made known to me by Andrew (not his real name), a VA psychiatrist who spoke on condition of anonymity for this article.
First the soldier's symptoms are ignored by military personnel; then the soldier self-medicates; then the military tests the soldier for substances.   If the soldier tests positive, he or she is given a less-than-honorable discharge and stripped benefits, often winding up on the street — still addicted and traumatized.
One of the men Andrew was treating at his VA inpatient treatment center was a young soldier who had returned from Iraq, where he was engaged in active combat and had been in a number of life-threatening situations.
Back on US soil, still enlisted and performing military duties, his nightmares got to be so bad that he finally went to the military medical personnel.
"They waved off his concerns and advised him to just keep doing what he was doing to get to sleep," Andrew explained.
"He started drinking, and when the booze started making it difficult to wake up in the morning, he started doing cocaine — all in the name of being a good solider."
Finally, when the military could no longer ignore this soldier's having become something of a mess, they subjected him to a random drug test, which he failed, and gave him a less-than-honorable discharge that stripped him of his VA benefits.
By the time the soldier got to Andrew's VA hospital, he was in such bad shape that the staff took him in despite his lack of benefits under a "compassionate care" provision.
He was diagnosed with one of the worst cases of post-traumatic stress disorder that Andrew had ever seen, and "required a six week stay instead of the usual two just to get back to some kind of baseline functioning."
Andrew emphasized that this soldier's primary problem, like so many of the others I heard about while researching this piece, was PTSD caused by his experiences while serving for the US military.
He had not previously had any problems with drugs; he turned to them as a sedative when military medical personnel chose to ignore his PTSD.
Andrew is pretty sure that the military will eventually have to recognize that this young soldier has what is known as a "service-connected disability" and give him benefits.
But applying for that status, proving that the substance abuse was not a pre-existing condition, and waiting to have benefits reinstated is a long and arduous process, with no happy ending guaranteed.
Center on Conscience and War
American Voice Abroad
Veterans for Peace
Aguayo vs. the Secretary of Army case
U.S. District Court in Washington
US Army Spec. Agustin Aguayo
A US Army medic fled rather than serve
US  and  War    Mental Health disorders effecting returning troops. 

J.E. McNeil, Executive Director of the Center on Conscience and War, right, accompanied by Elsa Rassbach from American Voice Abroad, center, and Kevin McCarron, left, from Veterans for Peace, meets reporters outside U.S. District Court in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006 to discuss the Aguayo vs. the Secretary of Army case.

Army Spec. Agustin Aguayo, an Army medic who fled rather than serve a second tour in Iraq because he believes war is immoral faces a possible court-martial.

Picture: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Here's the thing!
Don't join the army!
US  and  War    Mental Health disorders effecting returning troops. 

Noel Gallagher speaks out about Iraq.

Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher has given a highly controversial interview giving his views on the environment and the Iraq war.

The rock musician told The Sun that he was angry with the growing popularity of Green politics and people trying to save the planet.

He said, 'Greens are f***ing hippies with no place in the world. They've been telling us for the past 50 years not to use aerosols or the sky's going to fall in. How do you suggest we get 50 million Chinese not to have a fridge? Or get 700 million Americans to stop using their big stupid cars?

'The only way it's going to happen is if the sky falls in.'

He continued with his tirade over politics, moving onto the subject of the Iraq war. He said, 'Blair made an almighty cock-up about going to war in Iraq. But...don't think for one moment David Cameron wouldn't have sent troops in, or the other guy from the Liberals.'

He went on: 'You get a million people walking through Hyde Park, 'don't send the troops' and all that. The troops, they want to go, all they want to do is fight! They're soldiers! They're lunatics! They're loving it until they get shot - and then their claiming compensation.

'If you're bothered about getting shot - here's the thing - don't join the army.'

UTC Matt Houghton

Picture: AFP/Mike Clarke


(left)
J.E. McNeil, Executive Director of the Center on Conscience and War, right, accompanied by Elsa Rassbach from American Voice Abroad, center, and Kevin McCarron, left, from Veterans for Peace, meets reporters outside U.S. District Court in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006 to discuss the Aguayo vs. the Secretary of Army case.
Army Spec. Agustin Aguayo, an Army medic who fled rather than serve a second tour in Iraq because he believes war is immoral faces a possible court-martial.
(right)
Noel Gallagher speaks out about Iraq.
Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher has given a highly controversial interview giving his views on the environment and the Iraq war.
The rock musician told The Sun that he was angry with the growing popularity of Green politics and people trying to save the planet.
He said, 'Greens are f***ing hippies with no place in the world.   They've been telling us for the past 50 years not to use aerosols or the sky's going to fall in.   How do you suggest we get 50 million Chinese not to have a fridge?   Or get 700 million Americans to stop using their big stupid cars?
'The only way it's going to happen is if the sky falls in.'
He continued with his tirade over politics, moving onto the subject of the Iraq war.   He said, 'Blair made an almighty cock-up about going to war in Iraq.   But...don't think for one moment David Cameron wouldn't have sent troops in, or the other guy from the Liberals.'
He went on: 'You get a million people walking through Hyde Park, 'don't send the troops' and all that.   The troops, they want to go, all they want to do is fight!   They're soldiers!   They're lunatics!   They're loving it until they get shot — and then their claiming compensation.
'If you're bothered about getting shot — here's the thing — don't join the army.'
Photos: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AFP/Mike Clarke
The U.S. and War
He got off the plane and looked at no one
He walked down the tarmac in the direction of nowhere
He followed the sun as it was setting
Glad to be done with all the bloodletting
There were no banners for the proud and the few
Just workers in airports that do what they do
Fuel up the planes, unload the bags
Along with the coffins all covered in flags
When Johnny came marching home
     David Rovics     
Iraq: the hidden cost of the war
Andrew Stephen
Published 12 March 2007
America won't simply be paying with its dead.  The Pentagon is trying to silence economists who predict that several decades of care for the wounded will amount to an unbelievable $2.5 trillion.
They roar in every day, usually direct from the Landstuhl US air-force base in the Rhineland: giant C-17 cargo planes capable of lifting and flying the 65-tonne M1 Abrams tank to battlefields anywhere in the world.
But Landstuhl is the first staging post for transporting most of the American wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan back to the United States, and these planes act as CCATs ("critical care air transport") with their AETs — "aeromedical evacuation teams" of doctors, nurses and medical technicians, whose task is to make sure that gravely wounded US troops arrive alive and fit enough for intensive treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre, just six miles up the road from me in Washington.
These days it is de rigueur for all politicians, ranging from President Bush and Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Iraq's previous "prime minister") to junior congressmen, to visit the 113-acre Walter Reed complex to pay tribute to the valour of horribly wounded soldiers.
Last Christmas, the centre was so overwhelmed by the 500,000 cards and presents it received for wounded soldiers that it announced it could accept no more.
Yet the story of the US wounded reveals yet another deception by the Bush administration, masking monumental miscalculations that will haunt generations to come.
Thanks to the work of a Harvard professor and former Clinton administration economist named Linda Bilmes, and some other hard-working academics, we have discovered that the administration has been putting out two entirely separate and conflicting sets of numbers of those wounded in the wars.
This might sound like chicanery by George W Bush and his cronies — or characteristic incompetence — but Bilmes and Professor Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist from Columbia University, have established not only that the number wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan is far higher than the Pentagon has been saying, but that looking after them alone could cost present and future US taxpayers a sum they estimate to be $536bn, but which could get considerably bigger still.
Just one soldier out of the 1.4 million troops so far deployed who has returned with a debilitating brain injury, for example, may need round-the-clock care for five, six, or even seven decades.
In present-day money, according to one study, care for that soldier alone will cost a minimum of $4.3m.
Article continued
here: Iraq: the hidden cost of the war
© New Statesman 1913–2007
 
Startling findings in Tillman probe
By SCOTT LINDLAW and MARTHA MENDOZA, Associated Press Writers
Thursday November 9, 2006
In a remote and dangerous corner of Afghanistan, under the protective roar of Apache attack helicopters and B-52 bombers, special agents and investigators did their work.
They walked the landscape with surviving witnesses.   They found a rock stained with the blood of the victim.   They re-enacted the killings — here the U.S. Army Rangers swept through the canyon in their Humvee, blasting away; here the doomed man waved his arms, pleading for recognition as a friend, not an enemy.
"Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" he shouted, again and again.
The latest inquiry into Tillman's death by friendly fire should end next month; authorities have said they intend to release to the public only a synopsis of their report.
But The Associated Press has combed through the results of 2 1/4 years of investigations — reviewed thousands of pages of internal Army documents, interviewed dozens of people familiar with the case — and uncovered some startling findings.
One of the four shooters, Staff Sgt. Trevor Alders, had recently had PRK laser eye surgery.
Although he could see two sets of hands "straight up," his vision was "hazy," he said.
In the absence of "friendly identifying signals," he assumed Tillman and an allied Afghan who also was killed were enemy.
Another, Spc. Steve Elliott, said he was "excited" by the sight of rifles, muzzle flashes and "shapes."
A third, Spc. Stephen Ashpole, said he saw two figures, and just aimed where everyone else was shooting.
Squad leader Sgt. Greg Baker had 20-20 eyesight, but claimed he had "tunnel vision."
Amid the chaos and pumping adrenaline, Baker said he hammered what he thought was the enemy but was actually the allied Afghan fighter next to Tillman who was trying to give the Americans cover: "I zoned in on him because I could see the AK-47.   I focused only on him."
All four failed to identify their targets before firing, a direct violation of the fire discipline techniques drilled into every soldier.
There's more:
_Tillman's platoon had nearly run out of vital supplies, according to one of the shooters.   They were down to the water in their Camelbak drinking pouches, and were forced to buy a goat from a local vendor.   Delayed supply flights contributed to the hunger, fatigue and possibly misjudgments by platoon members.
_A key commander in the events that led to Tillman's death both was reprimanded for his role and meted out punishments to those who fired, raising questions of conflict of interest.
_A field hospital report says someone tried to jump-start Tillman's heart with CPR hours after his head had been partly blown off and his corpse wrapped in a poncho; key evidence including Tillman's body armor and uniform was burned.
_Investigators have been stymied because some of those involved now have lawyers and refused to cooperate, and other soldiers who were at the scene couldn't be located.
_Three of the four shooters are now out of the Army, and essentially beyond the reach of military justice.
Taken together, these findings raise more questions than they answer, in a case that already had veered from suggestions that it all was a result of the "fog of war" to insinuations that criminal acts were to blame.
The Pentagon's failure to reveal for more than a month that Tillman was killed by friendly fire have raised suspicions of a coverup.   To Tillman's family, there is little doubt that his death was more than an innocent mistake.
One investigator told the Tillmans that it hadn't been ruled out that Tillman was shot by an American sniper or deliberately murdered by his own men — though he also gave no indication the evidence pointed that way.
"I will not assume his death was accidental or 'fog of war,'" said his father, Pat Tillman Sr.   "I want to know what happened, and they've clouded that so badly we may never know."
And so, almost two years after three bullets through the forehead killed the star defensive back — a man who President Bush would call "an inspiration on and off the football field" — the fourth investigation began.
This time, the investigators are supposed to think like prosecutors:
Who fired the shots that killed Pat Tillman, and why?
Who insisted Tillman's platoon split and travel through dangerous territory in daylight, against its own policy? Who let the command slip away and chaos engulf the unit?
And perhaps most of all: Was a crime committed?

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc.  All rights reserved.
Mind Games Part II — To Hell and Back: Spinning the Downward Spiral
Nancy Goldstein — Raw Story columnist
Published: Wednesday October 25, 2006
Mental health disorders among returning troops
The same troops whose mental health issues were more or less ignored while they were active service members face numerous obstacles to proper care in the military's mental health system once they return.
The barriers include a self-reporting process for mental health issues that is littered with disincentives for service members to self disclose.
A post-deployment screening system that does not refer 78% of those who do come forward for further mental health evaluation.
Blizzards of paperwork for any service member seeking care; health care facilities that are already filled to capacity; and long, bureaucracy-filled waits for professional screening, diagnosis, treatment, and compensation.
Still, the recent surge in demand for mental health care is unlikely to let up any time soon.
US occupation for oil forces
US raid Sadr City
Kill three people
including young boy
VA records recently obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act — after the VA denied that such records existed.
(Then suddenly discovered them nine months later, when the Archive threatened a lawsuit.)
These records reveal that one in four veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is filing disability claims.
The next wave of service members to return to the US will most likely be seeking care and compensation in even greater numbers.
As far back as July of 2004, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by no less an authority than the VA's own Dr. Charles W. Hoge, chief of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, which reported that approximately one in six were returning from the Iraq war with signs of major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD.
Hoge's subjects were Army and Marine Corps soldiers who had been involved in combat operations and "hazardous security duties" in 2003.
Ninety-three percent had been shot at, 77% had pulled the trigger, 95% had seen dead bodies, and 89% reported being ambushed or attacked.
Three years later, most troops are facing those conditions daily.
As Slate's Alexander Dyer notes, the current casualty numbers from Iraq are even worse than they first appear, since "the military has not conducted any major operations" during what is on schedule to be the deadliest month of this war to date.
US forces
kill young boy
Iraq women cry at their home following a US occupation for oil raid in the Shia district of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006.

US military forces and puppet Iraq government forces raided Baghdad's Sadr City on Tuesday, killing three people, including a young boy.

Photo: AP/Karim Kadim
Iraq women cry at their home following a US occupation for oil raid in the Shia district of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006.
US military forces and puppet Iraq government forces raided Baghdad's Sadr City on Tuesday, killing three people, including a young boy.
Photo: AP/Karim Kadim
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
In short, "day-to-day operations in Iraq are now nearly as deadly as open warfare was two years ago — and perhaps for those on the ground, there is little distinction."
The kind of combat exposure Hoge's troops experienced in 2003 is near universal and 24/7 in 2006.
It's not just the level of violence that has increased for today's troops.
It's also the length of time they're exposed to it.
Over a third of the 1.4 million troops currently being deployed have served for two or more tours.
Now the Pentagon has begun retaining troops against their will and ordering reservists back into combat to compensate for its low recruiting numbers.
The number of soldiers who will serve for multiple tours, as well as the number of tours they'll serve, is about to expand dramatically.
But who will these men and women have become when they return, and what will happen to them?
The DOD and VA had advance warning from their own employees that the demand for mental health services might rise.
In an editorial that accompanied the NEJM piece, Dr. Matthew J. Friedman, Executive Director of the VA's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (NCPTSD), warned that Hoge's estimates might be too conservative, since "the prevalence of PTSD may increase considerably during the two years after veterans return from combat duty" and because, "on the basis of studies of military personnel who served in Somalia, it is possible that psychiatric disorders will increase now that the conduct of war has shifted from a campaign for liberation to an ongoing armed conflict with dissident combatants."
US forces kill baby
another relative wounded
US air strike
Women grieve next to a bloodstained blanket in a room where a baby died and another relative was wounded after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Sadr city November 21, 2006.

A U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Sadr City district killed at least three people on Tuesday when U.S.-led forces mounted their latest raid in the hunt for death squads and a kidnapped U.S. soldier

Photo: REUTERS/Kareem Raheem
Women grieve next to a bloodstained blanket in a room where a baby died and another relative was wounded after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Sadr city November 21, 2006.
A U.S. air strike in Baghdad's Sadr City district killed at least three people on Tuesday when U.S.-led forces mounted their latest raid in the hunt for death squads and a kidnapped U.S. soldier
Photo: REUTERS/Kareem Raheem
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
Friedman was right.
Two years later, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), also by Hoge, showed that the rate of major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD among Iraq veterans had risen to one in five. (Link to pdf of study)
Consider that these vets had left the theater by April of 2004, well in advance of this year's sharp rise in combat conditions.
Suddenly the one-in-three number in the VA's recent report for returning troops seeking care makes more sense — both as a record of current conditions and a harbinger of worse to come.
If the military’s reaction to the numerous reports that challenge its handling of mental health issues is any indication, its capacity for mobilizing a universal, comprehensive response to a systemic problem is actually quite good.
Every military spokesperson’s response to these accounts employs, without fail, the same strategies and talking points.
In essence, the military’s communications strategy is to assure the media that the military is doing everything in its power to address a situation that actually — and this is the breathtakingly contradictory moment — does not even exist.
Any suggestion that troops are evincing mental health problems in greater numbers, or that the military’s response to their needs may be inadequate, is countered by spokespeople who tout the military’s philosophy re the proper initial treatment of troubled soldiers.
This approach insists that: (a) Service members are simply exhibiting "normal reactions to abnormal situations" and (b) sending a service member for further mental health evaluation, or even diagnosing them, may stigmatize them, thereby (c) inhibiting the recovery that usually occurs naturally if you just give them a few nights of "rest and restoration."
These commonsense measures seem perfectly reasonable as a first response for treating shaken soldiers.
They only begin to sound suspect or evasive when the military insists upon staying the course with them despite the passage of time and when the need for further professional evaluation becomes evident.
Raad Hammed
Taken by US forces in raid
Body found dumped on street
two days later
Relatives bury Raad Hammed, age 28 in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006.

Raad was taken from his home during a joint Iraqi U.S. military raid and his body was found dumped on the street two days later, loved ones said.

Photo: AP
Relatives bury Raad Hammed, age 28 in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006.
Raad was taken from his home during a joint Iraqi U.S. military raid and his body was found dumped on the street two days later, loved ones said.
Photo: AP
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
Asked to comment on the recently released VA report for a Washington Post story titled "VA Mental Health Case Load Surges," the spokespeople for the VA and the Pentagon nail the military's talking points with the precision of the Blue Angels.
First they take credit for the dramatic increase in demand, attributing it to the military’s education and outreach efforts, rather than to the intensifying situation abroad.
Then they assure the WaPo reporter that more staff and funding have been added to VA facilities — at the very same time as they minimize the problem’s existence, meaning, and consequences.
They are already doing everything possible to address the problem that doesn’t exist.
Joyce Adkins, the Pentagon's director of stress management programs, says the number of service members reporting mental health problems or symptoms — a tenfold increase over 18 months, according to the report — has increased "slightly."
Michael J. Kussman, acting undersecretary for health and top doctor at the VA, insists that the number of troops reporting symptoms of stress probably represents a "gross overestimation" of those actually suffering from mental health disorders.
Remember, it was the VA’s own doctors who diagnosed 35% of the post-2002 half-million servicemembers seeking care with a possible mental disorder.
Still, Kussman implies that most of the troops who return from Iraq with flashbacks or trouble sleeping are simply having "normal reactions to abnormal situations" — a claim that might make more sense were it not for the fact that troops who have been home long enough to visit a VA facility and receive an initial evaluation have already had far more than the few nights of preliminary rest and restoration.
The military’s multi-pronged explanation — that it has done everything in its power to take care of a problem that doesn’t exist — appears to cover all bases.
But do the theories of the DOD/VA spokespeople hold water once you go past them to study their system’s practices?
The town he was from was a dead little place
So he looked for a job somewhere off-base
In this city of pawn shops and hotels and bars
Gas stations, strip clubs, highways and cars
He went to a dive, ordered a beer
Said turn the music up loud so it's all that I hear
Try to rewind, turn back the years
Stop the explosions between my ears
When Johnny came marching home
     David Rovics     
Alas, Hogan's Heroes.
And poor LeBeau.   He never stood a chance.
The second that Sgt. Schultz discovered the receiver in the coffee pot and then sputtered a report to Colonel Klink, who then discovered the comically obvious bugs in his office, LeBeau's fate was sealed.   But there was so much to go through before the sweet kiss of death finally sucked the last breath from the ill-fated Frenchman.
Sure, when Klink called Col. Hogan to his office, Hogan expected to do the usual song and dance — flatter Klink, make implicit threats about the Commandant's status within the Luftwaffe, plant yet one more bug, wink at Helga, Klink's big-titted secretary (would Hogan have it any other way?), head back to quarters, and send more messages to the Allies about Nazi plans.
Except not this time.
No, when Hogan entered Klink's office, the monocle was off and Gestapo Officer Hochestetter was there with two big guards.
Hogan wasn't sure what happened when the first rifle butt hit him in the nose, but the next thing he knew, his clothes were being cut off him and a hood was being placed on his head.
He heard the Germans laughing at his cold, frightened, shriveled cock, disappearing like a turtle head into his body.   Then Hogan made his biggest mistake.
Every other time Hogan had invoked the Geneva Convention (for instance, "Colonel Klink, I must protest as a violation of the Geneva Convention the private interrogation of my men by a Gestapo officer"), Klink had crumbled like a house of cards.
But when he tried this time, he was slammed face down on Klink's desk as the Commandant exhaled a frustrated, "Hooogannnn.   I'll show you what we think of the Geneva Convention."
And then Hogan heard a thick sheaf of papers being rolled tightly.
Well, this is poetic, Hogan thought, just before he felt the searing pain of the Geneva Conventions being shoved into his ass.   Schultz protested briefly, but Klink asked the bumbling Sergeant what he would say to any investigators.
"I see noth-ink," he exclaimed.   "I see noth-ink."
Hogan would not crack.   He would not give up the names of anyone who had collaborated with him to enable the Allies to stop so many attacks, so many Nazi plans.
By the time they threw him into the freezing cold cell, near the cells where LeBeau, Kinch, Newkirk, and Carter cowered, all naked, all chained into forced kneeling positions...
...But LeBeau.
When he'd shit himself, they'd force him to roll around in his own shit and then hose him off with freezing water.
They would take him down occasionally, to show him to Hogan, to question him some more.
LeBeau would twitch, his muscles stretched to uselessness, uncontrollable.
The twitching would enrage his interrogators, and they would beat him more.
When Schultz finally started beating him, LeBeau just gave up.
His official cause of death was a heart attack, caused by blood clots from all the torture.
C'est la vie, eh?
...when Hogan is awake, he hears screams, from his men, from himself.
Fifty years of screams. And he thinks he's lucky.
And if they had been innocents, if LeBeau had simply been driving past Stalag 13, delivering wine, well, that's just collateral damage.
It's a shame, but, god, don't you understand the price we must pay to sleep safely at night?
Mind Game III — Full Metal Lockout: The Myth of Accessible Health Care
Nancy Goldstein — Raw Story columnist
Published: Monday October 30, 2006
If you were thinking of enlisting in the military and you read the press releases from the DOD and VA public relations machine, you'd think that signing up would make you part of a body of men and women who were the nation's greatest asset — a corps that would enjoy every possible means of care at all stages of their professional and personal lives.
You'd go to the DOD's fancy Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) web site and cling to the promise that its resources are devoted to "fostering a trusting partnership between military men and women, veterans, their families, and their healthcare providers to ensure the highest quality care for those who make sacrifices in the world's most hazardous workplace."
The site would assure you that all returning service members "receive a face-to-face health assessment" by a trained health care provider that includes an in-depth review of "each service member's current health, mental health or psychosocial issues commonly associated with deployments, special medications taken during the deployment, and possible deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures."
And who could blame you for feeling reassured?
It's a level of medical attention and care that anyone would envy — if, in fact, anyone were getting it at all.
US air strike
Kill three people
including baby
"I don't believe that the DOD is having face-to-face screenings," says Paul Sullivan, Director of Programs at Veterans for America (VFA).
"I have spoken with countless veterans who have advised me that at most they fill out the form, and many don't even do that."
Steve Robinson, VFA's Government Relations Director, agrees with his colleague.
Although both pre- and post-deployment health assessments were mandated by law in 1997, Robinson notes that "previous reports from the US Government Accountability Office, (GAO) that looked at whether the form was being utilized correctly have already indicated that the DOD is not doing face-to-face screenings or making sure that everyone is filling out the forms."
In fact, a 2003 GAO report specifically found that "the percentage of Army and Air Force servicemembers missing one or both of their pre- and post deployment health assessments ranged from 38 to 98 percent of our samples."
"The post-deployment process was absolutely terrible and totally inadequate," recalls Paul Reickhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
"Physicals were not mandatory as part of our post-deployment.
There were no mental health screenings, unless you self-diagnosed by checking certain boxes on the 2796" (the post-deployment health assessment form).
Indonesian students protest against Bush in front of the U.S. Embassy Monday, Nov. 20, 2006, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Photo: AP/Tatan Syuflana
Indonesian students protest against Bush in front of the U.S. Embassy Monday, Nov. 20, 2006, in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Photo: AP/Tatan Syuflana
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
Given the lack of mandatory screenings, coming forward with a possible mental health disorder is left to service members, who are both culturally and systemically repelled from doing so.
The only chance they have of meeting face-to-face with anyone is if they answer "yes" to two or more of the four PTSD screening questions added to form 2796 in April of 2003 after years of lobbying by mental health professionals.
The disincentives for doing so are immense.
They include the threat of being held behind at the demobilization location while the rest of the unit — the people who have been your family for months or years — goes out to celebrate, then goes home; the end of opportunities for advancement in the military, or as a fire fighter, police officer, or security guard; and the personal shame of being perceived as weak in one of the most macho environments this side of Giants Stadium.
Despite the DHCC web site's promise of updated forms and revamped processes, demobilization today looks a lot like it did back in1993.
That's when Adrian Atizado, the Assistant Legislative Director for Disabled American Veterans (DAV), came home from the Gulf War.
"You had three days of filling out forms" at the very end of your service, he recalls, usually once you were back on US soil.
"Your discharge would be held up if you checked anything other than normal. That hasn't changed since Vietnam. It's the nature of the business."
An Iraq father carries his wounded son out of a hospital in Baghdad after receiving medical treatment.

Photo: AFP/Wissam al-Okaili
An Iraq father carries his wounded son out of a hospital in Baghdad after receiving medical treatment.
Photo: AFP/Wissam al-Okaili
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
"Look," says Reickhoff, who demobilized in 2004, over a decade after Atizado.
"Check one of those boxes honestly and you could stand on another line or ten, talk to another round of paper pushers, and be held over at Fort Stewart for a few weeks while your buddies went home to have sex with their wives, play with their kids, and drink beer on a beach."
"Let me give you an example," says Kevin Gregory, Supervisor of the National Service Office for DAV.
"There are some friends of mine that are in the National Guard.
Their unit came back a few months ago, went to Fort Drum New York for out-processing before they could return home. They were told that anyone who checks that they have nightmares, flashbacks — you know, symptoms of PTSD —would be held until a full evaluation could be made before they could go home.
Every single one of them has some sort of issue or problem, but none of them complained about PTSD because they all wanted to go home."
In a companion editorial to Hoge's damning 2004 NEJM study, Dr. Matthew J. Friedman, Executive Director of the VA's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (NCPTSD) notes that, "concern about possible stigmatization was disproportionately greatest among the soldiers and Marines most in need of mental health care."
Consequently the returning service members who most needed treatment were the least likely to seek it "for fear that it could harm their careers, cause difficulties with their peers and with unit leadership, and become an embarrassment in that they would be seen as weak."
"The sticking point is skepticism among military personnel that the use of mental health services can remain confidential. Although the soldiers and Marines in the study by Hoge and colleagues were able to acknowledge PTSD-related problems in an anonymous survey, they apparently were afraid to seek assistance for fear that a scarlet P could doom their careers."
Wounded Iraq men rest inside a hospital in the southern city of Hilla after a suicide bomber exploded his car in the Bab al-Hussein area in the centre of the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing at least 22 people.

Photo: AFP/Mohammed Sawaf
Wounded Iraq men rest inside a hospital in the southern city of Hilla after a suicide bomber exploded his car in the Bab al-Hussein area in the centre of the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing at least 22 people.
Photo: AFP/Mohammed Sawaf
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
As Shad Meshad, President and founder of the National Veteran's Foundation said when we spoke for this piece, "Whether the DOD thinks there are consequences or not, the soldiers do."
Even a service member who overcomes these powerful disincentives and answers "yes" to two or more of the PTSD questions on the 2796 is not assured of a face-to-face screening with any kind of health care provider.
(In Reickhoff's unit, the form went to him and he passed it up to his commander.)
And even if he does get his screening, the odds are 4-1 against him actually being referred for further evaluation by a mental health professional.
In a report issued this past May, the GAO — the non-partisan investigative wing of Congress — determined that the DOD could not provide reasonable assurance that all servicemembers who needed referrals were getting them.
Of the mere 5% of servicemembers who answered positively to the PTSD screening questions, 78% were not referred for further mental health evaluation.
That 22% referral rate is what shocked a lot of veterans' advocacy groups and drew the attention of the mainstream media.
But the report's conclusions were based not on the 22% referral rate, but on the DOD's lack of information regarding the referral process.
DOD officials claim that not everyone who responds "yes" to three or more of the PTSD questions on the 2796 needs a referral.
They leave it up to their providers to make that determination.
But while GAO researchers found substantial variation in the referral rate among the four branches of the military (from a low of 15% for the Marines to a high of 23% for Air Force and Army troops), it had no way of determining whether those variations represented different levels of need or some kind of difference in provider decision-making.
GAO lacked that data because DOD does not require their providers to write anything down about why they permit or deny referrals to service members.
Since "DOD did not identify the factors its providers used in determining which OEF/OIF servicemembers needed referrals," GAO concluded that DOD "could not offer reasonable assurance" that everyone who needed a referral was getting one.
The GAO report's recommendation, parsed in the judicious language of research, was that "DOD identify the factors that DOD health care providers use in issuing referrals for further evaluations for mental health or combat/operational stress reaction to explain provider variation in issuing referrals."
"What we don't know is what the providers are thinking and how they are applying their clinical judgment," says Cynthia A. Bascetta, GAO's Director of Health Care for Veterans' Health and Benefits Issues, and the report's lead researcher.
"And without that data, how can you do quality assurance on the appropriateness of screening, follow-up, and treatment?"
But she refrained from conjecture on the 22% referral rate.
"I've done a lot of work on disability on the civilian side, specifically social security disability," Bascetta said.
"And it is really very hard to assess the mental disorders that are more behavioral in nature as opposed to schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, etc.
And I honestly don't know if referring low percentages of those who check 'yes' to the PTSD questions on the 2796 is reasonable or not.
It might be.
But I can't make that judgment, and neither can DOD, until we know the basis.
And that's what we were trying to tell them."
 
The jobs were all shit and the beer it was cheap
And besides there was no other way he could sleep
Still the screams and the guns would wake him at night
And he was always on edge and ready to fight
And when he closed his eyes he would just see the face
Of a woman he killed in a far-away place
Over and over, the white of her eye
And her final and terrible terrified cry
When Johnny came marching home
Saturday, 30 April, 2005
Vietnam remembers fall of Saigon
Soldiers parade through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in celebrations to mark 30 years since the end of the Vietnam War.
Soldiers parade through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in celebrations to mark 30 years since the end of the Vietnam War.
Military bands and marching peasant soldiers re-enacted the North Vietnamese victory in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.
In Hanoi, costumed dancers on a stage mimicked the downing of US war planes and wept over their fallen comrades.
Prime Minister Phan Van Khai said the victory of 30 April 1975 was "forever written in our nation's history".
But he added that Vietnam still faced many challenges and should move on from the past and look to the future.
The tone of the celebrations was sombre but triumphant, reports the BBC's Kylie Morris in Ho Chi Minh City.
Liberation Day, as it is known in Vietnam, marks the victory of communist North Vietnamese forces over the US-backed regime in the south.
National pride
The government said it hoped the anniversary commemorations would help to revive patriotism and national pride among the young.
About two-thirds of Vietnam's 84 million population is under 30.
In Hanoi on Friday, Mr Khai told Vietnamese leaders, war veterans and foreign diplomats, including US Ambassador Michael W Marine: "Our people's victory in the resistance against the Americans for national salvation is forever written in our nation's history as one of the most glorious pages."
But he also said Vietnam needed to "avoid self-satisfaction, and realise the weaknesses and challenges posed to us".
And he added that his government advocated "friendly co-operation to strengthen relations with countries that took part in the Vietnam War."
30 years ago the palace was the location for the formal surrender.

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in celebrations to mark 30 years since the end of the Vietnam War.
Soldiers parade through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City
Saturday's events included a parade by Vietcong veterans and a ceremony for those who were born 30 years ago to the day when communist tanks rolled through the gates of the city's Presidential Palace.
Crew members of Tank 390, which at 1100 on 30 April knocked down the gates of the palace where the US-backed administration had spent its final hours, watched a re-enactment of the dramatic breakthrough which signalled the end of the war.
The Southern Vietnamese formally surrendered, marking the official end to a war which had claimed an estimated three million Vietnamese and some 58,000 American lives.
The red and yellow flag of Vietnam now adorns many of the streets and buildings of Ho Chi Minh City.
In front of the Presidential Palace, a large portrait of late President Ho Chi Minh, founder of today's Vietnam, takes pride of place.
The only high profile foreign visitor attending the celebrations was Cuban Defence Minister Raul Castro, President Fidel Castro's younger brother and apparent heir.
Cuba, along with the Soviet Union and China, were communist North Vietnam's key allies during the conflict.
More than 7,500 prisoners, including some political detainees, have been released this year as part of an anniversary amnesty.
Mind Games Part IV - Big Money: The Compensation Angle
Nancy Goldstein — Raw Story columnist
Published: Friday November 3, 2006
Veterans' advocates fought long and hard to have Congress pass measures in 1997 that require the Department of Defense (DOD) to document the pre- and post-war health of American troops.
Which is precisely why those same veterans' advocates are hopping mad today.
DOD implements those mandatory measures haphazardly at best.
"Compulsory" pre-and post-deployment face-to-face medical examinations are not happening regularly.
Only 22% of all returning troops who come forward with symptoms of potential post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are being referred for further mental health evaluation.
And by the Veterans Administration's (VA) own account, record numbers of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are resurfacing at their facilities, where a third are being diagnosed with possible mental health disorders.   (View full VA PowerPoint presentation.)
There is no record of how many of those veterans are the very same soldiers who did not get diagnosed at demobilization time in a face-to-face medical examination that did not happen.
Or of how many of them initially tried to come forward with PTSD symptoms, but were not referred for further mental health evaluation.
But one thing is for sure: A soldier who at the time of his demobilization has no documentation of his condition on the post-deployment health assessment form (the 2796) that he may or may not have filled out is going to have a hell of a time later when he tries to get free treatment from the VA or collect compensation for a service-connected disability.
US occupation soldiers Afghanistan
US asking NATO troops to kill more people
as 'act of solidarity'
"There's no way you'll read that not coming forward at 2796 time will be held against you later, but it's true," says Shad Meshad of the National Veterans Foundation.
"It's all about money and percentages, because there's a major difference in a monthly reimbursement on 30% as opposed to 70% and 70% as opposed to 100.
The folks at the Department of Veterans' Benefits who review all the paperwork try to measure how much PTSD is in your brain pretty much the same way that they calculate how much of an arm or leg is missing.
We're talking about money: it's all about big, big, big money."
Nearly 10 years after veterans' advocates successfully lobbied for Congress to mandate pre-and post-deployment face-to-face medical examinations for troops, (see public law 105-85, sections 762-767 in the attached National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998), they are still facing many of the same access-to-care and liability issues they once thought they had resolved.
Paul Sullivan and his Veterans for America (VFA) colleague, Steve Robinson, both fought for passage of the 1997 Congressional order.
As Gulf War veterans they knew from bitter first-hand experience what a huge difference a mandatory, documented face-to-face medical examination with a health care professional could make for service members on their way to and from duty.
After just a short time his health fell apart
With an ache in the joints and such a thump in the heart
And the doctor just told him it's all in his head
But he couldn't stop drinking or get out of bed
And with no place to go but the wrong way
It was a shock to his ears when he heard himself say
Over and over to anyone within range
Hey mister, can you spare some change
When Johnny came marching home
The United States November 23, 2006 is urging NATO allies to lift restrictions on the use of their forces (kill more people) in Afghanistan, casting it as matter of allied solidarity to the US will.

Image: Spiegel Online
The United States November 23, 2006 is urging NATO allies to lift restrictions on the use of their forces (kill more people) in Afghanistan, casting it as matter of allied solidarity to the US will.
Image: Spiegel Online
The men and women who fought in the Gulf War had neither.
And thousands of them came home in the early 90s reporting symptoms that included joint pain, headaches, memory loss, rashes, balance problems, and loss of motor skills — all part of what has commonly come to be known as "Gulf War syndrome."
But veterans' attempts to access diagnosis, treatment, and compensation through the DOD and/or the VA were mostly denied as unsubstantiated.
It was easy to dismiss their claims, but nearly impossible for veterans to prove that their symptoms were not pre-existing conditions, because the DOD had never established a pre-deployment baseline for service members' health, nor measured their exposure to contaminants in the field.
(Vietnam veterans two decades earlier had successfully sued the makers of Agent Orange for their ailments, but not the military itself.)
The DOD's failure to collect this data also meant that it avoided even the possibility of paying millions, if not billions, of dollars in compensation to disabled veterans.
Robinson, Sullivan, and their colleagues never wanted to see another veteran go through this wringer again.
1968 execution of a VietKong fighter.

A South Vietnamese general executes a Viet Kong fighter in Saigon, during the North Vietnamese attack, known as Tet, after which the US knew it was losing the war.

Photo: http://www.ccun.org/
1968 execution of a VietKong fighter.
A South Vietnamese general executes a Viet Kong fighter in Saigon, during the North Vietnamese attack, known as Tet, after which the US knew it was losing the war.
Photo: http://www.ccun.org/
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
They thought they had won a great victory when Congress mandated pre-and post-deployment health screenings in 1997. Instead, what they have found themselves up against for nearly a decade now is a DOD that inches towards compliance with Congress' orders at a snail's pace — and then usually in response to congressional hearings, investigative reports, and pressure from veterans' advocacy groups.
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations on the very same day in March of 2003, Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr., the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, and veterans' advocates like Robinson appeared to be talking about two entirely different DODs.
Robinson testified, as Thomas H. Corey of Vietnam Veterans of America had three days prior, that DOD has failed utterly to comply with the 1997 law.
According to the Pentagon's own statements, as well as the testimony of service members, DOD is conducting no medical examinations before deployment, or any mental and physical evaluations afterwards.
At best, the advocates say, DOD is handing soldiers a questionnaire (pre-deployment assessment form 2795 or post-deployment assessment form 2796) to fill out — when it's even doing that.
By contrast, Winkenwerder describes a military where all deploying and redeploying troops "receive individual health assessments," though he provides no documentation to prove his case.
Nor does he address the fact that just three weeks prior, DOD's top medical guy, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, the Pentagon's deputy director for force deployment health, had acknowledged to the Kansas City Star that DOD interpreted the law as simply requiring "better documentation."
Blindfolded residents of Hilla, south of Baghdad, November 21, 2006.

Photo: Mushtaq Muhammad/Reuters
Blindfolded residents of Hilla, south of Baghdad, November 21, 2006.
Photo: Mushtaq Muhammad/Reuters
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
Any questions about which of these competing accounts is correct were resolved less than half a year later with the appearance of a September 2003 GAO report.
Specifically, it finds that "the percentage of Army and Air Force servicemembers missing one or both of the pre- and post deployment health assessments ranged from 38 to 98 percent of our samples."
Meaning that the GAO could not find evidence that DOD was complying with Congress' 1997 directive, even by the standards of documentation alone.
Three years have passed since that GAO report, and since four PTSD screening questions were added to the post-deployment health assessment in April of 2003.
But little progress appears to have been made towards full DOD compliance, with either the 1997 law or the PTSD screening protocol.
Of the half a dozen veterans I interviewed for this piece, not one had a face-to-face post-deployment health screening -- or knew anyone else who had.
Still, Kilpatrick claimed that DOD was in full compliance with Congress' directive when I questioned him.
Specifically, I asked whether there was any reason to believe that some troops had not filled out the 2796 or had not had face-to-face medical examinations.
Could he tell me whether the number of post-deployment health assessment forms in the DOD database matched the number of troops that had been demobilized from October of 2001 through September of 2004?
A Palestinian injured child was among the victims of a US paid for Israel air raid on the Shuja'iyeh neighborhood in Gaza City yesterday.

Photo: http://www.ccun.org/Al-Safir, 11/21/06
A Palestinian injured child was among the victims of a US paid for Israel air raid on the Shuja'iyeh neighborhood in Gaza City yesterday.
Photo: http://www.ccun.org/Al-Safir, 11/21/06
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
Kilpatrick responded that "the Post-Deployment Health Assessment is a process, not a form" — one that "includes a face-to-face interview with a qualified health professional."
And while he acknowledged that there might have been some missteps during the start-up process, he assured me that "compliance now stands at over 90%" — but offered no documentation.
Sullivan doesn't believe a word of it:
DOD should turn over the data.
According to the 1997 law, there should be evidence of a face-to-face pre-deployment screening for each of the 1.5 million servicemembers who have been deployed since the beginning of OEF/OIF.
And when the wars are over, there should be 1.5 million post-deployment forms.
The burden is on DOD to prove that every soldier received a face-to-face mental health care exam from a mental health care professional, because we have the evidence that veterans are coming home with significant mental health care problems, and we know that a lot of veterans have gone through the discharge process and were not screened.
"Every time you and I get on an airplane, we are confident that the pilot and the co-pilot have done a walkaround of the plane and a systems check to make sure that all of the instruments on the plane work," Sullivan continued.
We believe that soldiers are our nation's most important national defense assets.
Therefore, the greatest emphasis should be placed on making sure that we send the best soldiers into combat, and that means screening; and when the soldiers come home from combat after one year of 24/7 non-stop bullets and roadside bombs and dangerous convoys and mortaring and snipers, and everything else that's going on in Iraq — that solider has earned the right to have a full, face-to-face professional mental health care screening.
To do less is a disservice to those of us who are protecting our country.
If we do it for an airplane, we should do it for the veterans."
"Congress intended that there be a face-to-face mental health care encounter," says Robinson.
And DOD is saying, ‘They get face-to-face: they fill out a piece of paper, they turn it in to somebody who may or may not be a medical professional, and that's a face-to-face.'
No, Mr. Winkenwerder: that is not what Congress intended.
It's a game of words now, and the reasons why DOD is not providing troops with the face-to-face mental health care encounter are all about cost, capacity, and demand.
The military bristles at any suggestion that its mental health referral system might be letting soldiers fall through the cracks.
Classically, DOD responds to such inferences by insisting that it is simply practicing good sense by not jumping to conclusions regarding troops' mental health.
It warns against the dangers of diagnosing too early symptoms that might be routine reactions to stress, touts its own philosophy of "watchful waiting" — shorthand for telling the soldier to come back and seek care if her symptoms do not improve, or worsen — and insists that it is doing all that it can to follow up with troops, who can, after all, access care at any time.
In fact, these were precisely the arguments DOD used when it responded to the May 2006 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that evaluated the DOD's PTSD screening system.
Two Palestinian injured children were among the victims of a US paid Israel air raid on the Shuja'iyeh neighborhood in Gaza City yesterday.

Photo: http://www.ccun.org/Al-Safir, 11/21/06
Two Palestinian injured children were among the victims of a US paid Israel air raid on the Shuja'iyeh neighborhood in Gaza City yesterday.
Photo: http://www.ccun.org/Al-Safir, 11/21/06
Photo inserted by Kewe.info
In this response, first Winkenwerder, despite explicitly concurring with GAO's conclusions and recommendations in DOD's written comments on an earlier draft of the report (see pages 33-37), tries to get GAO to change its findings.
Specifically, DOD asks GAO to remove the report's key statement — that DOD could not provide "reasonable assurance" that all servicemembers who needed referrals were getting them. (GAO declined.)
The rest of the DOD comments that follow Winkenwerder's letter are devoted to countering an argument for immediate medicalization that the GAO report never makes and touting the benefits of "watchful waiting."
It closes by reminding the reader that the post-deployment health assessment is not the only avenue to care and insisting that the DOD is already in the midst of conducting a thorough program evaluation of the pre- and-post deployment processes.
(The validation study projected for completion in October 2006 — last month — has not yet appeared.)
Later, an unhappy DOD actively tried to discredit GAO's report altogether.
The military has built much of its philosophy of treatment on the concept of "watchful waiting," with the justification that it makes no sense to evaluate, let alone diagnose or treat, troops who are still so close to their time in the theater of combat.
(As discussed in Part III of Mind Games, all forms and procedures associated with demobilization, including the post-deployment health assessment and the 2796 form, are completed during a soldiers' last five days or so of duty.)
The DOD argues that a few nights of rest and restoration, followed by sending troops' home with information about potential problems that might arise, makes more sense and is less stigmatizing than suggesting that something more serious might be wrong in the early stages of post-deployment.
Obviously the concept of "watchful waiting" is quite useful in certain medical contexts, such as when one is monitoring a small tumor to see if it grows larger.
But it is a bit more problematic when applied to a possible mental health disorder — especially given the DOD's own protocols regarding documentation and the potential for harm to oneself and others.
First there is Meshad's point, which Robinson reiterates in his Congressional testimony and Rieckhoff repeats in "Chasing Ghosts," his memoir of his time in Iraq: that waiting until after one is discharged to document symptoms means an uphill battle for diagnosis, treatment, and compensation.
Then there is the question of who is watching whom: Is a traumatized veteran really her own best judge or guardian?
And finally, there is the steep downside of letting this particular ailment develop further: When it comes to PTSD, the signs that one's illness is worsening include acting out in ways that can be dangerous, violent, and illegal.
"All kinds of bad stuff can happen while you're waiting around with PTSD," says Meshad. "There are other people involved here: spouses, children, friends, employers."
"While people are waiting for the face-to-face mental health care encounter they should have gotten during their post-deployment health assessment, they turn to other coping mechanisms," says Robinson.
"They turn to drugs and alcohol, they become discipline problems, they're arrested or dishonorably discharged from the military, and they lose their veterans' benefits forever."
The connection between Vietnam, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq
Given the extent of the military's reliance on "watchful waiting," I was eager to hear what kind of follow-up DOD did with solders who followed their recommended method, and how they tracked the soldiers' progress.
Kilpatrick's response to my inquiry indicates that DOD does not do any personal outreach or tracking aside from sending them their latest form.
The 2900, another self-reported questionnaire, will be mailed to service members who have been home for three to six months. Otherwise, the full extent of the DOD's follow up is to leave it up to veterans to follow the directions they have been given:
Pay special attention to your symptoms and seek care once at home if they do not get better, or worsen.
"All DOD does is keeping throwing paper at these guys," sighs Meshad.
"It's like their gift isn't working, but their attitude is ‘Well, we're offering it, so that's all we can do.'"
 
The connection between Vietnam and Iraq.

Brothers in Arms — a return to Vietnam 1994.
 
I came back as I said I would.

To face the grief that I should.

Only this time the pain will flow.

Like I couldn't do years ago.

Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran 


Brothers in Arms — a return to Vietnam 1994.
I came back as I said I would.
To face the grief that I should.
Only this time the pain will flow.
Like I couldn't do years ago.
Photo and words: Mike Hastie
Vietnam Veteran 
"There are a lot of barriers to care, but the biggest problem I see is that the system is not pro-active," says Paul Reickhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and a former Infantry Platoon Leader in the Adamiyah section of central Baghdad.
"For a year I made sure these guys tied their shoes and wiped their asses. And they get home, and no one's calling them to see what they're doing. No one's calling them to say, 'Hey, Sergeant Smith, did you go see anyone? Hey, Sergeant Smith, are you alive?'"
"This isn't any kind of procedure," says Robinson.
"Watchful waiting is DOD hoping that if they wave people off the first time around, they won't come back.
It's a methodology to reduce the number of people the DOD has to see, because they're not in the business of long-term care.
Nor do they have the capacity to meet the demand of the returning veterans that are having mental health problems even if they wanted to."
Robinson's doubts about capacity have been echoed multiple times in these last two months, particularly in hearings before the Pentagon's Task Force on Mental Health, in a report by Democrats from the House Committee on Veterans'
Affairs Subcommittee on Health, and in a September 2006 GAO report that explored the VA's allocation of some $300 million dollar it had planned for underwriting mental health services in 2005 and 2006.
(It found that 12M of the money had not been allocated in fiscal year 2005 and that 35M may have been allocated too late to be of use in 2006.)
Iraqis shop for clothes on a street of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, on an unusually quiet day.

The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly loss of life since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

Another sign of the severity of Iraq's enormous bloodbath and toll of lives since this invasion.

Photo: AP/Hadi Mizban


Iraqis shop for clothes on a street of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, on an unusually quiet day.
The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly loss of life since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.
Another sign of the severity of Iraq's enormous bloodbath and toll of lives since this invasion.
Photo: AP/Hadi Mizban
 
The connection between Vietnam and Iraq.

Iraqis shop for fruit and vegetables in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, on an unusually quiet day.

The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly loss of life since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

Another sign of the severity of Iraq's enormous bloodbath and toll of lives since this invasion.

Photo: AP/Karim Kadim


Iraqis shop for fruit and vegetables in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006, on this unusually quiet day.
Photo: AP/Karim Kadim
The connection between Vietnam and Iraq.

Members of the Valley Cottage fire department stand at attention during the funeral service of US Army Spc. Justin Garcia at the St. Paul's Church Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006 in Congers, N.Y.

Justin Garcia died Nov. 14 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations.

US Army Spc. Justin Garcia is survived by his six month pregnant wife, Michelle.

The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly loss of life since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

Another sign of the severity of Iraq's enormous bloodbath and toll of lives since this invasion.

Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer


The connection between Vietnam and Iraq.
Members of the Valley Cottage fire department stand at attention during the funeral service of US Army Spc. Justin Garcia at the St. Paul's Church Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2006 in Congers, N.Y.
Justin Garcia died Nov. 14 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations.
US Army Spc. Justin Garcia is survived by his six month pregnant wife, Michelle.
The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly loss of life since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.
Another sign of the severity of Iraq's enormous bloodbath and toll of lives since this invasion.
Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer
In testimony before the Pentagon's Task Force on Mental Health, Commander Mark Russell, a Navy psychologist, sounded a very different note from Dr. Michael J. Kussman, the acting undersecretary for health and top doctor at the VA.
A week prior to Russell's testimony, Kussman had responded to the release of the VA's own report on a ten-fold increase in demand for mental health services over 18 months by insisting that the number of troops reporting symptoms of stress probably represented a "gross overestimation" of those actually suffering from mental health disorders.
By contrast, Russell described the combination of rising need on the part of troops and veterans and shrinking resources for quality mental health care as a "perfect storm."
He cited as major problems in the mental health care system the failure of the DOD to diagnose and treat service members earlier -- chronic conditions and disability payments are very expensive -- a shortage of mental health caregivers and their relative inexperience, and a high rate of burnout among experienced hospital staff.
While only 80 of 135 key mental health slots in the Navy are filled, five new retirement requests are filed per month. His informal survey of 133 mental health providers revealed that 90% had not been trained to treat PTSD and could not do so.
The same week that Russell testified, Democrats from the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health released a report showing that high demand from returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans at many Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Readjustment Counseling Service Centers (Vet Centers) had forced the Centers to create waiting lists and limit individual counseling sessions.
PTSD skeptics like Dr. Sally Satel, from the arch-conservative American Enterprise Institute, claim that "generous Veterans Affairs entitlements for chronic PTSD may have created financial incentives for veterans to claim psychological disorders and reduced the motivation to recover."
And Republican chairman Larry Craig of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees has called the jump in disability payments "stunning increases that are going to require a reality check from Congress."
But Vets Centers, which are community-based direct service centers that provide readjustment counseling services to veterans making the transition from military duty to civilian life, do not provide medical treatment, nor are they an avenue for filing for compensation of any kind.
And demand for their services doubled in the nine-month period from October of 2005 to July of 2006.
The debate about mental health disorders among US troops, and about the proper implementation of the 1997 Congressional order, will continue for years to come, even if the wars overseas end tomorrow.
It's inevitable, with so many people affected and so much at stake for this administration, which appears to be as unprepared for the wars' aftermath as it is for the wars themselves.
Over time I was increasingly shocked by the speed and ease with which many intelligent and seemingly competent members of the CFR [ Council on Foreign Relations ] appeared to eagerly justify policies and actions that supported growing corruption.
The regularity with which many CFR members would protect insiders from accountability regarding another appalling fraud surprised even me.
Many of them seemed delighted with the advantages of being an insider while being entirely indifferent to the extraordinary cost to all citizens of having our lives, health and resources drained to increase insider wealth in a manner that violated the most basic principles of fiduciary obligation and respect for the law.
In short, the CFR was operating in a win-lose economic paradigm that centralized economic and political power.
I was trying to find a way for us to shift to a win-win economic paradigm that was — by its nature — decentralizing.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
 
The reader can appreciate why Wall Street would welcome someone as accommodating as Gorelick at Fannie Mae.
This was a period when the profits rolled in from engineering the most spectacular growth in mortgage debt in U.S. history.
As one real estate broker said, “They have turned our homes into ATM machines.”
Fannie Mae has been a leading player in centralizing control of the mortgage markets into Washington D.C. and Wall Street.
And that means as people were rounded up and shipped to prison as part of Operation Safe Home, Fannie was right behind to finance the gentrification of neighborhoods.
And that is before we ask questions about the extent to which the estimated annual financial flows of $500 billion–$1 trillion money laundering through the U.S. financial system or money missing from the US government are reinvested into Fannie Mae securities.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
James Forrestal
James Forrestal’s oil portrait always hung prominently in one of the private Dillon Read dining rooms for the eleven years that I worked at the firm. Forrestal, a highly regarded Dillon partner and President of the firm, had gone to Washington, D.C. in 1940 to lead the Navy during WWII and then played a critical role in creating the National Security Act of 1947.

He then became Secretary of War (later termed Secretary of Defense) in September 1947 and served until March 28, 1949.

Given the central banking-warfare investment model that rules our planet, it was appropriate that Dillon 
partners at various times lead both the Treasury Department and the Defense Department.

Shortly after resigning from government, Forrestal died falling out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1949.

There is some controversy around the official explanation of his death — ruled a suicide.

Some insist he had a nervous breakdown. Some say that he was opposed to the creation of the state of Israel.

Others say that he argued for transparency and accountability in government, and against the provisions instituted at this time to create a secrete “black budget.”

He lost and was pretty upset about it — and the loss was a violent one.

Since the professional killers who operate inside the Washington beltway have numerous techniques to get perfectly sane people to kill themselves, I am not sure it makes a big difference.

Approximately a month later, the CIA Act of 1949 was passed.

The Act created the CIA and endowed it with the statutory authority that became one of the chief components of financing the “black” budget — the power to claw monies from other agencies for the benefit of secretly funding the intelligence communities and their corporate contractors.

This was to turn out to be a devastating development for the forces of transparency, without which there can be no rule of law, free markets or democracy.

Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits

Photo: Wikipedia     

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Forrestal as an administrative assistant on June 22, 1940, then nominated him as Undersecretary of the Navy six weeks later. In the latter post, Forrestal would prove to be very effective at mobilizing industrial production for the war effort.
He became Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 1944, following the death of his immediate supervisor Frank Knox from a heart attack. Forrestal then led the Navy through the closing year of the war and the demobilization that followed.   What might have been his greatest legacy as Navy Secretary was an attempt that came to nought.   He, along with Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew, in the early months of 1945, strongly advocated a softer policy toward Japan that would permit a negotiated face-saving surrender.   His primary concern was "the menace of Russian Communism and its attraction for decimated, destabilized societies in Europe and Asia", and, therefore, keeping the Soviet Union out of the war with Japan.   Had his advice been followed, Japan might well have surrendered before August 1945, precluding the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   So strongly did he feel about this matter that he cultivated negotiation attempts that bordered closely on insubordination toward the President.
Forrestal opposed the unification of the services, but even so helped develop the National Security Act of 1947 that created the National Military Establishment (the Department of Defense was not created as such until August 1949), and with the former Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson retiring to private life, Forrestal was the next choice.
His 18 months at Defense came at an exceptionally difficult time for the U.S. military establishment:   Communist governments came to power in Czechoslovakia and China; West Berlin was blockaded, necessitating the Berlin Airlift to keep it going; the war between the Arab states and Israel after the establishment of Israel in Palestine; and negotiations were going on for the formation of NATO.   His reign was also hampered by intense interservice rivalries.
In addition, President Harry Truman constrained military budgets billions of dollars below what the services were requesting, putting Forrestal in the middle of the tug-of-war.   Forrestal was also becoming more and more worried about the Soviet threat.   Internationally, the takeover by the Communists of Eastern Europe, their threats to the governments of Greece, Italy, and France, their impending takeover of China, and the invasion of South Korea by North Korea would demonstrate the legitimacy of his concerns on the international front as well.
Photo and description: Wikipedia
James Forrestal’s oil portrait always hung prominently in one of the private Dillon Read dining rooms for the eleven years that I worked at the firm. Forrestal, a highly regarded Dillon partner and President of the firm, had gone to Washington, D.C. in 1940 to lead the Navy during WWII and then played a critical role in creating the National Security Act of 1947.
He then became Secretary of War (later termed Secretary of Defense) in September 1947 and served until March 28, 1949.
Given the central banking-warfare investment model that rules our planet, it was appropriate that Dillon partners at various times lead both the Treasury Department and the Defense Department.
Shortly after resigning from government, Forrestal died falling out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside of Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1949.
There is some controversy around the official explanation of his death — ruled a suicide.
Some insist he had a nervous breakdown. Some say that he was opposed to the creation of the state of Israel.
Others say that he argued for transparency and accountability in government, and against the provisions instituted at this time to create a secrete “black budget.”
He lost and was pretty upset about it — and the loss was a violent one.
Since the professional killers who operate inside the Washington beltway have numerous techniques to get perfectly sane people to kill themselves, I am not sure it makes a big difference.
Approximately a month later, the CIA Act of 1949 was passed.
The Act created the CIA and endowed it with the statutory authority that became one of the chief components of financing the “black” budget — the power to claw monies from other agencies for the benefit of secretly funding the intelligence communities and their corporate contractors.
This was to turn out to be a devastating development for the forces of transparency, without which there can be no rule of law, free markets or democracy.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
What Briody does not mention is allegations regarding Brown & Root's involvement in narcotics trafficking. Former LAPD narcotics investigator Mike Ruppert once described his break up with fiance Teddy — an agent dealing narcotics and weapons for the CIA while working with Brown & Root, as follows:
“Arriving in New Orleans in early July, 1977 I found her living in an apartment across the river in Gretna. Equipped with scrambler phones, night vision devices and working from sealed communiqués delivered by naval and air force personnel from nearby Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, Teddy was involved in something truly ugly.
She was arranging for large quantities of weapons to be loaded onto ships leaving for Iran.
At the same time she was working with Mafia associates of New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello to coordinate the movement of service boats that were bringing large quantities of heroin into the city.
The boats arrived at Marcello controlled docks, unmolested by even the New Orleans police she introduced me to, along with divers, military men, former Green Berets and CIA personnel.
“The service boats were retrieving the heroin from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs in international waters, oil rigs built and serviced by Brown and Root.
The guns that Teddy monitored, apparently Vietnam era surplus AK 47s and M16s, were being loaded onto ships also owned or leased by Brown and Root.
And more than once during the eight days I spent in New Orleans I met and ate at restaurants with Brown and Root employees who were boarding those ships and leaving for Iran within days.
Once, while leaving a bar and apparently having asked the wrong question, I was shot at in an attempt to scare me off.”
Source: "Halliburton’s Brown and Root is One of the Major Components of the Bush-Cheney Drug Empire" by Michael Ruppert, From the Wilderness
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
The Clinton Administration took the groundwork laid by Nixon, Reagan and Bush and embraced and blossomed the expansion and promotion of federal support for police, enforcement and the War on Drugs with a passion that was hard to understand unless and until you realized that the American financial system was deeply dependent on attracting an estimated $500 billion-$1 trillion of annual money laundering.
Globalizing corporations and deepening deficits and housing bubbles required attracting vast amounts of capital.
Attracting capital also required making the world safe for the reinvestment of the profits of organized crime and the war machine.
Without growing organized crime and military activities through government budgets and contracts, the economy would stop centralizing.
The Clinton Administration was to govern a doubling of the federal prison population.
Catherine Austin Fitts — Dillon Reid and Co. Inc. And the Aristocracy of Stock Profits
Most religious people are on the same side as most progressive people
An Exclusive Interview with George Galloway, May 23, 2005 — Esther Sassaman and Thomas Nagy
Esther Sassaman: The questions I'm going to ask u are basically a totally different ball of wax from what others have asked today. These are organizing questions, because you just won the holy grail recently in Bethnal Green. We need help from you guys.
George Galloway: Oh yeah, definitely.
ES : Respect is an innovative alliance between Muslim and socialist forces. Why was it instituted and why was it successful, especially in Bethnal Green?
GG: Well, I have been quite central to the development so I guess I'm well placed as anyone to comment on it.
I have long felt the things that divide us, the left and the Muslim community, were much less important than the things which united us.
That's not to say the things are not important, just that they're much less important than the things that divided us.
I have felt that one of the reasons why in places like France the Muslims were impotent and weak, and the left was impotent and weak, was because no fusion existed between them.
Not even a fringe seemed to link them — over time, really dating back to the role of religion in the time of the French Revolution.
Well, the role of religion has changed since the French Revolution.
And nowadays most religious people are on the same side as most progressive people on these really core issues of war, peace and exploitation and the domination one by another, Zionism, the war, and so on.
“This war came to us, not the other way around.” — Condoleezza Rice addressing U.S. troops in Iraq May 15, 2005
The Baltimore Sun, May 1The U.S. and War7, 2005 — G. Jefferson Price III
Somebody must have slipped an old script into Condoleezza Rice's hands while she was so busy getting packed into body armor for her surprise visit to Iraq on Sunday.
Some of the first words out of her mouth to U.S. troops there were:  "This war came to us, not the other way around."
Huh?   The Iraq war did not come to us.   We brought the war to Iraq.
Remember "shock and awe," the war cry of President Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz (now a banker, thank God)?
Ms. Rice was part of the shock-and-awe team back in those halcyon days when they all were lying to America about why we had to go to war against Iraq and just about everybody [who wanted to] believed them.
An Exclusive Interview with George Galloway, May 23, 2005 — Esther Sassaman and Thomas Nagy
Most religious people are on the same side as most progressive people
So I've long felt that this alliance could be built — in the Stop the War movement, in which I was one of the leaders, which was really a precursor of Respect, we achieved that.
We had people under the same roof, people marching in the same demonstrations.
We had Trotskyists, Stalinists, social democrats, liberals, Jews, Muslims, Christians, people of all kinds, who united around the basic demands of our movement, which were:  No war on Iraq, freedom for Palestine.
And out of that experience was born Respect.
And everyone thought that it would be an unholy alliance, but actually it has worked incredibly well.
We not only won a seat, coming from nowhere, one of the most historic results in British political history, but we came second in three others, and we were third in another, and fourth in four seats.
Four of the ten best results of the night were scored by us.
All over east London, and in the center of Birmingham, where the poor people live, where the immigrant people live, where students live, we showed that we are the real challengers of New Labour, except where we beat them.
And that alliance is holding fast.
And I commend it to other countries.
You can't transfer one political model all around the world — heaven knows the left's made mistakes along that line — long before us.
But basic truth, seeking unity of those forces that are against war, imperialism, occupation and globalization must be there.
And if that means that you have your view on abortion and I have mine, then I think that's a price worth paying.
ES: That moves me onto the next question — which is, you know, as an American, a little bit of a selfish question, but very useful to us — You already said that such an alliance can prosper in the US.
My question is — how?
One of the main problems we have here as progressive Muslim and non-Muslim activists in the US is we have trouble mobilizing the larger Muslim community due to an atmosphere of fear after September 11th.
How — how do we overcome that?
GG: Well, thats understandable, and at the beginning you will only be able to mobilize the most courageous and the best established.
There's a clear difference between someone who — whose "jacket is here on a shaky nail" as we say, and someone who was born here, of Muslim extraction.
That person is likely to be more courageous in facing up to the prevailing atmosphere — than someone who has just arrived or thinks that that they might be just a transient here.
But of course the local population is, more and more, the second generation population.
And that's where I'd start.
I'd start with the most politically advanced of the older generation and I'd start targeting the younger generation.
And say to them: politics can change things.
Democracy can change things.
The extremists .... the Salafids, they argue that voting is haraam, that elections are haraam, that working with what they call the kufr, the unbelievers, is haraam.
We say, no, it's vital.
And, it works.
And Bethnal Green is a good example of it.
ES: These questions to follow are more about the political culture problems we have here in the US.
Tom Nagy: The problem we have here in the us is that the right wing — on media, communications skills, and finances — is so far ahead of the progressives.
Like, Esther and I were only two of the small number of progressive people here to cover the hearing.
ES: And the only two [progressives] from the United States, I believe.
TN: Do you have any suggestions for us? It's a problem throughout the United States.
ES: How do we catch up?
TN: They've got a thirty year advantage, all the institutions.
ES: The think tanks, the newspapers...
GG: But, the Muslim community here is a very substantial one, and it's very prosperous.
And it must be fought for with assiduous work.
If I can help in any way I'll try to, — to tap the kinds of fund raising that would allow you to get started with a project.
I've been in three taxi cabs since I've been here.
All of them were driven by Muslims.
All of them recognized me immediately.
And all of them were huge supporters of everything I stand for.
Eh, extraordinary!
And really encouraging.
Two Pakistanis and one Afghan.
And that's before you even touch the Arab-American community, which is likely to be better-established and even more prosperous.
So I think that it's important that this get started.
Maybe I'll come and do something, some speaking around the United States.
      George Galloway — interview on voting fraud — transcript of Senate hearing      
   And religious people, many religious people, are amongst those.
   I think of the Cardinal Archbishop of Detroit who came to Baghdad a couple of times....
   The Roman Catholic Church — I speak as a Catholic — the Roman Catholic Church, even in right wing countries like this, is seeded closely with ideals of justice.
An Exclusive Interview with George Galloway, May 23, 2005 — Esther Sassaman and Thomas Nagy
Most religious people are on the same side as most progressive people
ES: I'm going to ask the epistemology question — epistemology, for the people who may not know that fifty cent word that are reading this, is the science of knowing — what kind of theory of knowledge is out there.
And it's my personal belief that the Republican Party and to a larger and larger extent, the Democratic Party — is inventing its own epistemology.
Basically, instead of having a rigorous investigation of facts, for example at your hearing today, they just make an assertion.
And because they say it in this vertically integrated media machine, it's true!
And the problem is, if that epistemology spreads across the United States, then we have a huge disadvantage because even the facts won't save us if they can invent their own facts.
How do we fight that?
GG: Well that's a brilliantly formed question.
ES: Thank you.
GG: I have no easy answer to it.
Beyond — nobody ever said it would be easy.
We are, in our two countries, fighting against an imperialist monster...that thinks nothing of massacring large numbers of people.
And this is Jack Londons Iron Heel.
And it may be that in my lifetime, Tom's lifetime, I hope not in yours — that we do not break through.
We may move forward.
We may merely stop them from pushing us back as far as they might have done if we weren't here.
But we have a duty to try.
What else are we here for, but to fight for the truth and fight for justice?
In the end, if we're talking about epistemology, all we're asking for is justice!
Justice — We believe in a society of justice in the world.
Justice for the Palestinians and justice for everybody.
That's all we're asking for.
Now, there are a number of constituencies who are predisposed, if stripped of anything that gets in the way, predisposed to the idea of justice.
And religious people, many religious people, are amongst those.
I think of the Cardinal Archbishop of Detroit. who came to Baghdad a couple of times.... The Roman Catholic Church — I speak as a Catholic — the Roman Catholic Church, even in right wing countries like this, is seeded closely with ideals of justice.
Black churches, black Christians, must be open to the ideals of justice.
ES: Yeah I sing in a Baptist gospel choir.
GG: All right, you'll know that then.
And the Muslim community, however many millions it is in America, is definitely predisposed towards justice — both because Islam expounds the idea of justice, in a very powerful way, more powerful actually than the other religions, and because most of the people suffering injustice in the world on the international level are Muslims.
You can speak to Kashmiris about injustice very easily.
You can speak to Arab-Americans about injustice very easily.
An Exclusive Interview with George Galloway, May 23, 2005 — Esther Sassaman and Thomas Nagy
Most religious people are on the same side as most progressive people
ES: But there's often been a problem spreading that outside of their national interests.
How do you purport to overcome that?
That's something definitely that we've got to work on here.
GG: Yeah.   I think that the task is to demonstrate that this injustice is a system.
It's not an accident, it's a system.
And the system requires that injustice.
Injustice is its currency.
People ask me, in mosques and so on, why are Muslims hated so much by the powerful governments?
And I say, 'You don't have to be a Muslim to be hated.' Cuba is hated.
Second, they [the US] quite like the Saudi royal family, and they pray five times a day.
What they hate is the command in Islam that the believer must hate injustice and must struggle against it and must refuse tyranny.
And, that these people are the tyrants.
And their currency is injustice.
Inevitably, that puts them on a collision course with Islam — with genuine believers in Islam.
So, it is possible to generalize from the specific.
There are some specifics that are more specific than others.
For example, an Egyptian is equally outraged about what happens in Palestine as a Palestinian.
A Kashmiri might not be so quickly and totally able to pass their feelings about one to another.
But it's definitely not beyond us to try and to make progress.
Truong Ngoc Diep, 4, right, lays by herself while an attending nurse cares for another child at the Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Min city on Friday March 25,2005, suffering from what are believed to be the effects of the jungle defoliant Agent Orange, used heavily in the region by the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War.

A U.S federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of some 4 million Vietnamese claiming that U.S. chemical companies committed war crimes by making Agent Orange for use during the Vietnam War.

Photo: AP/Richard Vogel
Truong Ngoc Diep, 4, right, lays by herself while an attending nurse cares for another child at the Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Min city on Friday March 25,2005, suffering from what are believed to be the effects of the jungle defoliant Agent Orange, used heavily in the region by the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War.
A U.S federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of some 4 million Vietnamese claiming that U.S. chemical companies committed war crimes by making Agent Orange for use during the Vietnam War.
Photo: AP/Richard Vogel
      Agent Orange — Vietnam — more information   
ES: One example of that would be in Iran, which is a really good example of non-Arabs, Persians in this case, having a strong solidarity with Palestine and the people of Palestine.
GG: There are no Shi'ites in Palestine.
ES: Right.
GG: None at all.
ES: Yeah.
GG: But the people of Iran are deeply committed to the Palestinian cause.
ES: So that's a good sign.
GG: Yeah, after the revolution they took over the Israeli embassy and gave it to the PLO!
Alhamdulilah!
And, they called the street in which the British Embassy was in Bobby Sands Boulevard!
TN: Wow, that's real solidarity.
ES: And that sort of thing really has a cultural currency, and these symbolic gestures really spread all over the world.
GG: Sure they do.
ES: And that's something that we on the left really need to catch up on. The right is really dominating the field.
GG: I think — talking as a leftist, to leftists — let me say, the first hang up we have to get over is that somehow religion is a reactionary thing.
ES: Hear, hear.
GG: Whether you believe in God or not, it can hardly be a bad thing that people want to live their lives by a value system of peace, which is what in the end religion is.
Religions say, don't harm other people.
Treat people as you would wish to be treated.
Don't steal.
Don't kill people.
And so on and so on.
Well there's nothing wrong with that.
Even if you don't believe in God there's nothing wrong with that.
And a person who sincerely believes that sort of thing is the kind of person that can be won to a broader progressive agenda.
Esther Sassaman is a freelance journalist and Palestine solidarity activist.
Tom Nagy is a anti-sanctions and anti-imperialist activist and writer.
      George Galloway — interview on voting fraud — transcript of Senate hearing      
Published on Friday, May 20, 2005 by www.TomDispatch.com — by Dahr Jamail
Coming Home: An Iraq Correspondent Living in Two Worlds
It isn't an accident that, after 11 weeks, only as I'm leaving again, do I find myself able to write about what it was like to come home — back to the United States after my latest several month stint in Iraq.
Only now, with the U.S. growing ever smaller in my rearview mirror, with the strange distance that closeness to Iraq brings, do I find the needed space in which the words begin to flow.
For these last three months, I've been bound up inside, living two lives — my body walking the streets of my home country; my heart and mind so often still wandering war-ravaged Iraq.
Even now, on a train from Philadelphia to New York on my way to catch a plane overseas, my urge is to call Iraq; to call, to be exact, my interpreter and friend, Abu Talat in Baghdad.
The papers this morning reported at least four car bombs detonating in the capital; so, to say I was concerned for him would be something of an understatement.
The connection wasn't perfect.
But when he heard my voice, still so far away, he shouted with his usual mirth, "How are you my friend?"
I might as well be in another universe — the faultless irreconcilability of my world and his; everything, in fact, tied into this phone call, this friendship, our backgrounds… across these thousands of miles.
I breathe deeply before saying a bit too softly, "I just wanted to know that you're all right, habibi."
The direct translation for "habibi" in Arabic is "my dear."
It is used among close friends to express affection and deep trust.
It's no fun having a beloved friend in a war zone.
I'm all too aware now of what it must be like for loved ones and family members to have those close to them far away and in constant danger… It's no way to live.
Having spent so many months in Iraq myself, I finally have a taste of what my own loved ones have been living with.
While bloody Iraq stories are just part of the news salad here for most Americans — along with living and dead Popes, Michael Jackson, missing wives-to-be, and the various doings of our President — I remained glued to the horrifying tales streaming out of Baghdad and environs.
I emailed Abu Talat and other friends constantly to check on their safety in that chaotic, dangerous land I'd stopped being any part of.
Trying to live life here with some of my heart and most of my mind in Iraq, which is endlessly in flames, has felt distinctly schizophrenic.
It's often seemed as if I were looking at my country through the wrong end of a telescope even as I walked down the streets of its well functioning cities, padded through a coffee shop where everyone was laughing, relaxed, or calmly computing away, or sat for hours in a room that possessed that miracle of all miracles — uninterrupted electricity.
“Generally in wars, total casualties, which include wounded, crippled, and lost, are many times the number killed, often as high as ten times.
So while Americans, thirty years later, still weep at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington — a monument representing about sixty thousand deaths over ten years of war — they have inflicted on Iraq, in just three weeks, that same proportionate loss — all of them civilians.
With Iraq‘s population being less than ten percent that of the United States, such losses must be multiplied by ten to get some feel for their impact on the society.
Is this how a great power behaves in the early part of the 21st century? Especially a power that enjoys reminding us at every opportunity — I suppose because it is so easy for the rest of the world, just watching its actions, to forget — that America stands for human rights and democratic principles?”
John Chuckman
Published on Friday, May 20, 2005 by www.TomDispatch.com — by Dahr Jamail
Coming Home: An Iraq Correspondent Living in Two Worlds
I ask Abu Talat if the most recent car bombs were close to his home.
"There have been 10 car bombs in Baghdad today, habibi, at least 30 people killed with over 70 wounded.
Iraqis are suffering so much nowadays.
It's becoming unbearable, even for those of us who have known so much suffering for so long."
This time I find, to my amazement, that I'm wiping back the tears and forcing back the crazy desire I've been unable to dodge all these months to return to Baghdad.
Right now.
This second.
That old pull to plunge back into the fire, despite the obvious risk.
To be with my close friend, in solidarity, in a place that, absurdly enough, seems more real to me now that this one somehow doesn't.
To be there on the front lines of empire, able to see, without blinking, without all the trimmings, the true face my country shows the world.
"Please stay safe habibi, and I will see you soon," I tell him as my train approaches New York where I am to catch my flight.
"Insh'Allah — God willing — I will stay safe and will see you soon, habibi. Insh'Allah," he replies.
Then he quickly tells me there's gunfire nearby.
He has to go.
I wait for him to hang up first.
It's a kind of ritual.
Only then do I push the button on my phone, set it down, and leave Iraq once again for this country of mine where I've never quite landed.
Another irregular, out-of-body experience back here
Just beyond the train window, trees and houses race past as we speed along.
I watch the peaceful American countryside zip by, knowing Abu Talat, having just dropped his wife and children off at her father's for safety, is trying to make his way home through streets filled with fighting and criminal gangs, the constant threat of more car bombs in the night, and a military cordon around his neighborhood.
He is concerned that his home will be looted if he isn't there, and feels it's worth the risk to return to his neighborhood to guard his belongings, even though the area has been sealed off by American soldiers.
I'll check in with him again later…obsessively...to see if he's in one piece at the other end of the invisible phone line that still seems to connect us, along with all my other friends there.
Of course, it's just a regular day for him in Baghdad, and another irregular, out-of-body experience back here, where, with every long-distance chat, the duality in me seems to grow more extreme.
Sold to Japan
Coming home from the war in Iraq, I find another kind of duality.
It seems to me that the war I've left is going on at home on many fronts — and yet most people seem almost blissfully unaware of it.
I was in Juneau, Alaska, when the Senate voted to take another step toward opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling.
So another, allied kind of war continues on the beautiful, precious land of my home state.
I wonder how many of the proponents of drilling are aware that the oil drawn from ANWR won't even be used domestically, but will be sold to Japan.
I wonder how many Americans, whatever their positions, know this.
For 10 weeks now, I've traveled along each coast, giving Iraq War presentations, most of the time to large crowds hungry for information.
It's been heartening to see so many people so concerned, as well as angry, about what's being done in their name — and with their tax money.
Upon returning from a presentation in Vancouver, Canada, I wait for a U.S. border agent to scan my passport.
I watch him languidly flicking through my many pages of Jordanian/Iraqi/ Lebanese/Egyptian visas, staring at the Arabic script and stamps.
"What were you doing in the Middle East," he asks.
I feel a little spurt of anger and glance up at the signs all across this border station informing non-US citizens that they will have their photos taken upon entry and then place their index fingers on a scanner — solely for our safety and security, of course.
I have that natural human urge to tell him it's none of his damned business where I've been; after all, the United States is, at least in theory, a free country.
Instead, of course, I simply say, "I'm a journalist."
Published on Friday, May 20, 2005 by www.TomDispatch.com — by Dahr Jamail

Coming Home: An Iraq Correspondent Living in Two Worlds
She crossed another kind of "border" there, also guarded by Americans — a border around her own city.
He looks at me, hands me my passport, and I come home yet again.
As for the anger, it quickly dissipates.
Such a small moment amid so many larger catastrophes.
Besides, he's just doing his job.
Not too long after, I get an email from a friend in Baghdad who's just spoken with a friend of his, a teacher in Fallujah.
She crossed another kind of "border" there, also guarded by Americans — a border around her own city.
She had to undergo a retinal scan mandated by the Americans and had all ten fingers printed in order to obtain the necessary identification badge which, unfortunately, she then lost while shopping in a Baghdad market.
When she tried to return to Fallujah without it, Iraqi National Guard soldiers wouldn't let her back in.
"She told them she'd lost her ID in Baghdad at the market, that she wants to go home, that they have to let her in, but they refused," my friend wrote.
"A neighbor of hers inside Fallujah was there and told them she was his neighbor, but they refused.
She called her husband with her neighbors' mobile and he came to the checkpoint with her papers, showing that she is his wife and he lives in Fallujah but they still refused to let her in."
She was crying, my colleague said, as she related her woes to him.
She had lost 9 relatives during the American assault on the city in November, 2004.
Then he wrote: "I want you to tell your friends and your audience about this.
Please ask them what would happen if they were prevented from getting inside their city although the people inside knew they were a teacher who had to get to their school?"
My friend also wanted me to ask what Americans would do if our country were invaded and the only ID that was worth anything was that given by the invading forces — even though you had several of your regular forms of identification with you?
Estimates of Vietnamese killed:
3 million people
Being a Raving Lunatic and Other Confusions of War
Of course, most Americans back in this strange land know nothing about such doings in Iraq, thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Bush administration and its faithful loudspeaker, the corporate media, which has done such a fantastic job of whitewashing the degrading situation in Iraq.
Fallujah begins to resemble a concentration camp; the death toll of innocent Iraqis continues to escalate.
The Iraqi resistance and foreign terrorist groups are now focusing heavily on the new Iraqi government and the new Iraqi security forces
The American troops continue their aggressive operations.
And all that comes through here in this still peaceful-seeming land are flickering images of car-bomb carnage.
In 1968, in the Vietnamese village of My Lai, American troops massacred over 400 innocent civilians by far the majority of whom were women, children, and the elderly.
In Fallujah during the November siege of the city, according to Iraqi medical personnel, well over 1,000 innocent civilians (the majority of whom were women, children and the elderly) were slaughtered.
Over one thousand innocent civilians, people who, under the Geneva Conventions, an occupying power is required by law to protect, died in what was essentially a Vietnam-style "free-fire zone."
“Then they would beg for food.
It was obvious they were starving for something more nutritious than what their diet allowed.
Then they would beg for clothes, shoes, and school supplies.
I even asked to look in one childs backpack to cure a curiosity on what the school supplies he owned and what the schools were teaching him.
He explained that his father burned the books because it was getting cold outside.
Coal is expensive and the Iraqi desert is not in abundance with wood.
Aftequestions were exhausted they would settle for anything they could see and ask for.
All day it was "Mhister, mhister, gimmie mhister" and "for you one dollar mhister".
Never once was I begged for a soccerere we were with an entire train car full of soccer balls, however the one missing ingredient was a pump to inflate them.
Thousands of deflated soccer balls.
You would think that someone would raise a stink about it and get some way to inflate the balls, but not in this army.
This army is commanded by fear.
No one was willing to explain to higher that shit was all fucked up.
That would mean it was either their fault or the person they are complaining to.
And since the person they complain to is of higher rank, it means that the person complaining is responsible.
But an order is an order and,  'You will hand out those fucking balls!'”
<Soldier X      April, 2005
Published on Friday, May 20, 2005 by www.TomDispatch.com — by Dahr Jamail
Coming Home: An Iraq Correspondent Living in Two Worlds
In Conditions of Atrocity written for the Nation magazine, Robert Jay Lifton, psychiatrist and well-known expert on humans in extreme moments, cited both My Lai and the Iraqi prison of Abu Ghraib as examples of what he called "atrocity-producing situations.
So structured, psychologically and militarily, that ordinary people, men or women no better or worse than you or I, can regularly commit atrocities.
In Vietnam that structure included ‘free-fire zones' (areas in which soldiers were encouraged to fire at virtually anyone).
‘Body counts' (with a breakdown in the distinction between combatants and civilians, and competition among commanders for the best statistics0.
And the emotional state of US soldiers as they struggled with angry grief over buddies killed by invisible adversaries and with a desperate need to identify some ‘enemy.'"
Sound familiar?
"This kind of atrocity-producing situation," Lifton added, "...surely occurs in some degree in all wars, including World War II, our last ‘good war.'
But a counterinsurgency war in a hostile setting, especially when driven by profound ideological distortions, is particularly prone to sustained atrocity — all the more so when it becomes an occupation."
As my thoughts are being calmed by the blur of trees and houses out the train window, I'm suddenly brought back with a jolt — as has happened over and over in these few weeks — to Iraq-in-America.
Another passenger seats himself next to me, reads the paper, and then turns — I suppose simply because I'm there — and asks, "Did you see Bush's press conference yesterday?"
I tell him I hadn't.
"This damned guy!   When are people going to wake up to his bullshit?"
I assure him I have no idea — and that's true.
I've been wondering just the same thing ever since I came home.
But he doesn't need much from me.
As if he'd been reading my mind, he quickly lets loose with this:  "I'm a Vietnam Vet.   My son just got back from Iraq.   He was in Fallujah in November.   It's all bad, man.   My son, he's like me, he won't talk to many people about what happened over there...but he told me."
He looks me in the eye intently and then points to the side of his head — that familiar kid's gesture for insanity — and continues, "Now my son has problems upstairs.   He told me they don't have a plan, they don't have a solution, they're just trying to contain things over there."
He rattles on, angrily, and I nod while I glance out the window from time to time, letting his information settle in on top of what Abu Talat has just told me.
I finally indicate to him that I understand, because I'm a journalist who has spent a fair amount of time in Iraq recently.
But he's not in need of encouragement.   "Bush is a draft dodger and a deserter," he continues.   "He and all his cronies are thieves and should be in jail!  If I keep talking about this I'm going to lose it.   Have a good trip."
He gets up and walks away.
I take a deep breath.
This isn't the first time I've had folks unload on me about Iraq.
I guess it's in the air.
I've had similar encounters with Iraq veterans from both our Gulf wars while traveling, as well as with civilians.
Every encounter — the ones where no one mentions Iraq as well as the ones where it comes up — has its bruising aspects.
I've had to go back to some of my family members and make amends for an outburst just after I returned.
Feeling the desperation of the situation there and overwhelmed by the urge to bring Iraq home to people who truly have no idea what's happening tends to put one in an awkward situation where it's not too hard to come off as a raving lunatic.
Is There Anyone in the World...?
At least in these weeks, I've begun to understand what war veterans who have seen the bodies — as I have — get to deal with on returning home.
Now that I've had a little time to get my head on straight, to process some of the atrocities I saw, and to take a little breath, I find myself, against my better judgment and everything I swore I wouldn't do, heading back to the Middle East; back to chronicle more of what's happening there.
I keep wondering how long it can go on; how long so many people in my home country will continue to ignore it, to be complicit, whether they know it or not, in our brutal occupation.
So long after it was proven beyond a shadow of a shadow of a doubt that this war was illegal and based on nothing but lies.
I can't help wondering as well how long they will be complicit as their tax dollars continue to be spent on a war machine that is eating their children and loved ones, along with innocent Iraqis.
Complicit as social programs and benefits, civil rights and liberties are stripped from them — a little more with each passing day.
Even a debate among anti-war groups about whether the United States should withdraw immediately or propose a phased withdrawal on a timetable was capable of sending me off the rails.
All I could think was:  Silly debate.
As though either view of how "we" should proceed mattered, as though their opinions carry the slightest weight with the no-timetable Bush administration.
I kept wondering why the streets here weren't filled with people every single day…
A couple of days ago, I forwarded an email to Abu Talat that had been sent to me by a man who attended one of my presentations.
He had thanked me for telling and showing them the truth…the photos, the footage, the stories of Iraqis and of U.S. soldiers.
He had written asking me to tell my Iraqi friends how horrified he was by what our country was doing in Iraq, that he was doing whatever he could to stop the occupation.
Abu Talat wrote back to him directly — the longest email I'd ever seen him send — and forwarded a copy to me.
Here's what he said in his eloquent, though hardly perfect English:
"Thank you Americans (those who believe that American troops are destroying Iraq).
Those who believe that facts cannot be hidden with chicken mesh.
Who believe they have no right to put ideas in the minds of people of a civilized country, a country in which civilization began before the United States existed.
Those people who know that democracy is not given, it is obtained.
Who know that Iraqis are people who have to live just like any nation.
Who believe that we are no different in the ability of our minds because God made us all so you cannot force us to have the ideas of others unless we accept it after we are fully contented.
Those people of the world who raise their voices against colonialism, control, force, the invading of other countries… I thank them, I encourage them, and I ask God to save them.
"Other people of the world who are not on these ethics, who don't implement those ideas, I call them to look around themselves, to awaken themselves, to put themselves in our position.
To face what we face, to remember that they don't accept in any way to be insulted, nor to be threatened or killed like what is happening in my country by the invaders.
I ask God to spare any difficulty from their country rather than being invaded.
...Is there anyone in the world who can accept to be killed?
Or detained for no reason?
Is there any of you who can accept to be put in the situation we are facing, to see their houses crashed or demolished, ended, to see your people treated with no respect, to have guns aimed at them wherever they go, to live without electricity when you used to have it, to see roads closed.
Whether they will live until tomorrow under a normal life, these are, my friends, just a few things to be told.
So please tell your friends and people to raise their voices to pull the troops out from invaded Iraq.
Seeking that God helps Iraqis to bare the situation done by the troops of the invaders."
From the window of my plane, I watch the lights of New York fade — and the internal duality quickly begins to fade with the glowing lights of the colossal city.
Somewhat to my surprise, it encourages me to know I'm now moving ever closer to the place where so much of my heart turns out still to be.
Unsure whether or not I'll actually go into Iraq, at least I will be nearer to it, and to Abu Talat and my other friends who live the brutality of life there every day.
At least I'm on my way back to a place where I feel I can do something...even if sometimes that only means providing moral support for habibis.
At least I'm on my way back to a place where few can help but be aware of what is truly happening.
At least I'm on my way, ever closer to occupied, inflamed Iraq.
Know them by their fruit:
                          To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
College faculty — Students Oppose War
Tuesday 24th May 2005
College Faculty, Students Oppose War
Bill Gallagher May 24, 2005
"As Christians we are called to be peacemakers, and to initiate war only as a last resort.   We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq."
An open letter to President George W. Bush from concerned faculty, staff and emeriti of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.
DETROIT — Hallelujah!  It’s time for rejoicing.
When one-third of the faculty members of this distinguished Christian college sign the letter denouncing their commencement speaker, telling him bluntly, "We see conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration," you know the Busheviks are seething.
Things like that are not supposed to happen to the most thoroughly scripted, supremely orchestrated and meticulously controlling administration in American political history.
The rule is simple: George W. Bush never, in any way, sees, hears or encounters those who disagree with him.   Stalin faced and tolerated more public dissent than Bush.
His rare news conferences are a joke and cheap theater.   He spouts out his memorized lines and the toadies in the White House press corps sit there like a reverential audience lapping up the lies, and then repeating them.
One Democrat stand up
Would just one Democrat stand up on the floor of Congress and call Bush a lying criminal who should be impeached and indicted for war crimes?
Why do so many Democrats find it impossible to accuse Bush of raiding the U.S. Treasury to rob from the poor and give to the rich, and burdening our children with unconscionable debt?
Calvin College is in Grand Rapids, Mich., deeply conservative ground that provides a rich motherlode for Republican fund-raising.   It’s home for the DeVos family and their Amway Corp. — a cult-like enterprise that promises riches to all participants willing to climb the pyramid of success.
The DeVos crowd dominates Michigan Republican circles these days and they would drum out Grand Rapid’s own Gerald Ford from the party.
The former president’s views are far too liberal and inclusive for the Bush-DeVos GOP, rooted as it now is in fundamentalism and intolerance.
Given that environment, it’s easy to see why Bush’s "brain" Karl Rove selected Calvin College as one of two schools where the president delivers the commencement address this year.
The other, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., will provide Bush with his perfect audience — guaranteed standing ovations and no hint of dissent.
But to Karl Rove’s unpleasant surprise, many of the folks at Calvin don’t buy Bush’s radicalism wrapped in religion.
They’re speaking out forthrightly, teaching the wimps in the Democratic Party a lesson they should heed, but will probably ignore.
Another letter
In addition to the professors’ proclamation, another letter to Bush from students, faculty, alumni and friends of the college published in a full-page newspaper ad protested his visit, noting they are "deeply troubled" by it.
Kicking the sanctimonious president right in his political shins, they added, "In our view, the policies and actions of your administration, both domestically and internationally over the past four years, violate the deeply held principles of Calvin College."
The modern Republican Party has laid exclusive claim on conservative religious groups as essential to its base.   Any defections threaten the dynasty and must be dealt with as grievous departures from the "true faith."
The only Republican religion is Bush’s claimed Christianity.
The Grand Rapids Press, noted for one of the worst editorial pages on earth, praised Bush as a "fitting speaker for the college and its graduates."
In an editorial gushing over the "honor," the paper sings "Hail to the Chief," noting, "A conservative and deeply Christian man, Mr. Bush’s outlooks overlap broadly on those of the college and its students."  The implication, of course, is that those who differ with Bush must be "shallowly Christian" or, God forbid, secular.
Many who cling to the school’s own mission statement do not accept the purported congruence of Calvin College and Bush Republicanism.   The statement reads, "We pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ, offering our hearts and lives to do God’s work in God’s world."
The faculty letter, published in an ad in the Grand Rapids Press, takes on Bush’s frequent evocation of the divine to brand his work.
"While recognizing God as sovereign over individuals and institutions alike, we understand that no single political position should be identified with God’s will."
Those words alone should get them burned at the stake, with Karl Rove proving the wood and Jerry Falwell lighting the fire.
Favor the wealthy, burden the poor
Bush’s Robin Hood-in-reverse policies take an arrow.
"As Christians we are called to lift up the hungry and impoverished.   We believe your administration has taken actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor," the faculty members write.
They challenge Bush-flavored faith that nurtures wedge issues to cloud more important matters and carry out a cynical political calculus.
"As Christians we are called to actions characterized by love, gentleness and concerns for the most vulnerable among us. We believe your administration has fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees."
Amen.
Speaking out requires guts
David Crump, a professor of religion at Calvin, was one of the leaders of the faculty protest.
He told the Detroit Free Press he felt compelled to speak out because "the largest part of our concern is the way in which our religious discourse in this country has been largely co-opted by the religious right and their wholesale endorsement of this administration."
I spoke with Crump and discussed the faculty letter and politicians who cloak themselves in religion.
He struck me as a soft-spoken, committed person whose conscience led him to action.   Crump has taught at Calvin for eight years and he’s up for a tenure appointment this summer.   Speaking out like he does requires more guts than Bush, Rove and a division of Busheviks have ever displayed.
Crump said he’s tired of all evangelicals being lumped together and people "naturally associating us with the right wing."  He admires Jim Wallis, another evangelical whose "moral values" differ sharply with the Bush administration’s.
Jim Wallis
Bush used to seek the advice of Jim Wallis until he told him things he didn’t want to hear.
In a recent interview in "Mother Jones" magazine, Wallis said, "Fighting poverty is a moral value too.   There’s a whole generation of young Christians who care about the environment.   That’s their big issue.   Protecting God’s creation, they would say is a moral value too.   And, for a growing number of Christians, the ethics of war — how and when we go to war, whether we tell the truth about going to war — is a religious and moral issue as well."
No wonder Wallis got kicked-off the White House A-list.
According to ABC News, protesters outside the college wore buttons saying, "God is not a Republican or a Democrat."
What kind of radical theology is that?
Some of the students had "No War" taped on their graduation caps.
Bush has a certain nostalgia for Calvin College, the site of one of the debates among the Republicans running for president in 2000.
Clinton surplus
At the time, Sen. John McCain was seriously challenging Bush’s bid for the White House.   McCain used the forum to oppose Bush’s plan to deposit the entire Clinton surplus into one shaky basket.
McCain prophetically said, "For us to put all of the surplus into tax cuts, it’s a mistake.   We should put that money into making sure the Social Security system will be there, that Medicare is helped out, most of all, let’s pay that $5.6 trillion debt we’ve laid on future generations."
Before the students at Calvin College, and the world, George W. Bush then uttered a lie for the ages.   He twanged, "I have a plan that takes $2 trillion over the next 10 years and dedicates it to Social Security.   My plan has been called risky by voices out of Washington.   In my judgment, what’s risky is to leave a lot of unspent money in Washington. It’s going to be spent on bigger federal governments."
Bush has not dedicated a dime to Social Security.
He has squandered the entire Clinton surplus and created unprecedented debt, including $300 billion for the war in Iraq.
His fiscal madness brings great risk of economic collapse.
Bush has significantly increased the size of the federal government.
The Calvin professors are speaking eloquently and courageously and they are exposing Bush’s misuse of Christianity for his selfish and destructive political agenda.
He’s not listening, but let’s hope evangelicals everywhere are.
http://www.niagarafallsreporter.com/gallagher215.html
by : Bill Gallagher
Tuesday 24th May 2005
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
US soldiers committing suicide Afghanistan Iraq — Most Recent
Psychologist Pete Linnerooth was one of three who were part of a mental health crew in charge of the US 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in the Baghdad area of Iraq.   Pete Linnerooth committed suicide by turning a gun upon himself in January of 2013
Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes.   More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
Mary Coghill Kirkland said she asked her son, 21-year-old Army Spc. Derrick Kirkland, what was wrong as soon as he came back from his first deployment to Iraq in 2008.   He had a ready answer: "Mom, I'm a murderer."
A military base on the brink
As police agents watched he shot himself in the head
Murders, fights, robberies, domestic violence, drunk driving, drug overdoses
US soldiers committing suicide Afghanistan Iraq II
U.S. Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques
Private Gary Boswell, 20, from Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was found hanging in a playground in July
She is Jeanne "Linda" Michel, a Navy medic.   She came home last month to her husband and three kids ages 11, 5, and 4, delighted to be back in her suburban home of Clifton Park in upstate New York.   Two weeks after she got home, she shot and killed herself.
Peterson refused to participate in the torture after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage
     United States Numb to Iraq Troop Deaths       
     All papers relating to the interrogations have been destroyed     
      We stripped them and were supposed to mock them and degrade their manhood     
US soldiers committing suicide Iraq Vietnam
       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     
      
      Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Palestine, Iraq — War and Death — September 2004 photos      
       Dimona Reactor threat      

       Iran tests missile — Israel postures      
Najaf, Basra, Sadr City — War and Death in Iraq — August 2004 photos.
Afghanistan — Terror?

Photos over past three months.
World War Two soldiers did not kill Kill ratio Korea, Vietnam. Iraq.
More atrocities — Ahmed and Asma, story of two children dying
The House of Saud and Bush
             December 2004 photos
       All with U.S. Money:       
       US and Israel War Crimes       
             November 2004 photos
al-Sadr City
All with U.S. Money:

Israel agents stole identity of New Zealand cerebral palsy victim.

(IsraelNN.com July 15, 2004) The Foreign Ministry will take steps towards restoring relations with New Zealand. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced she was implementing diplomatic sanctions after two Israelis were sentenced on charges of attempting to obtain illegal passports. Despite Israeli refusal to respond to the accusations, the two are labeled in the New Zealand media as Mossad agents acting on behalf of the Israeli intelligence community.

Foreign Ministry officials stated they will do everything possible to renew diplomatic ties, expressing sorrow over the "unfortunate incident".
Darfur pictures and arial views of destruction — 2003 — 2005
             October 2004 photos
Suicide now top killer of Israeli soldiers
Atrocities files — graphic images
'Suicide bombings,' the angel said, 'and beheadings.'

'And the others that have all the power — they fly missiles in the sky.

They don't even look at the people they kill.'
       The real Ronald Reagan       
       — Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Africa        
             Photos September 2004
Follow the torture trail...
             Photos August 2004
Should the dam break, as attempts are being made in Saudi Arabia
             Photos July 2004
US Debt
             Photos June 2004
Lest we forget — Ahmed and Asma, story of two children dying
        When you talk with God        
         were you also spending your time, money and energy, killing people?         
       Are they now alive or dead?        
American military: Abu Gharib (Ghraib) prison photos, humiliation and torture
— London Daily Mirror article: non-sexually explicit pictures
             Photos April 2004
The celebration of Jerusalem day, the US missiles that rained onto children in Gaza,
and, a gathering of top articles over the past nine months
             Photos March 2004
The Iraq War — complete listing of articles, includes images
             Photos February 2004
US missiles — US money — and Palestine
             Photos January 2004
Ethnic cleansing in the Beduin desert
             Photos December 2003
Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Prize winner 2003
             Photos November 2003
Atrocities — graphic images...
             Photos October 2003
Aljazeerah.info
             Photos September 2003
 Kewe Archives kewe archives    kewe archives Kewe.info